Ford has finally taken stopping very seriously, and the ST250 left the factory with very effective 320mm front discs, chunky calipers and 271mm rears. They feel remarkably strong, even with OE pads, and haul up a Focus with ease.
But they won’t take lots of punishment: if you act like a hooligan on a daily basis or spend lots of time on track, you’ll undoubtedly find the brakes lacking. Enthusiastically-driven ST250s tend to warp/contaminate their front discs and destroy the pads, leaving loads of juddering felt through the pedal under braking. Replacement parts are fortunately inexpensive, but sensible money goes towards a pair of Mk3 RS front calipers and 350mm discs – we found they work brilliantly when combined with EBC Blue Stuff pads and race fluid.
The rest of the braking system is regular Ford kit, and somewhat disappointingly prone to corrosion. Don’t be surprised to find an early ST’s brake lines bubbling around the fittings, so have a good look underneath. We also anticipate it won’t be long before rear calipers are seizing on their handbrake mechanisms; like the Mk2 Focus before it, the Mk3’s pad retaining springs rust into their calipers, requiring drilling out or whole replacement parts. Not expensive, but very inconvenient.
Finally, if you’re wondering why some STs have red-painted brake calipers, it’s because they came with the Style Pack and late-model ST-3s; they’re physically no different. Only the optional 335mm front discs of facelift ST250 are worth a premium.