The new Ford Focus ST - It's here to play.WRITTEN BY THE EDITOR ON JULY 16, 2015. POSTED IN WHEELS
A couple months ago I drove the highly impressive Ford Fiesta ST. Everything about it was fun and it was genuinely one of my most memorable car experiences of the year.
While I was enjoying that, I couldn’t help wonder just how good the big brother Ford Focus ST would be, and last week I got a call to find out!
Arriving in Durban with a group of other blogger/online types, we were paired up and given some directions. The directions were to a race track 170kms down the south coast, a strange destination, but a shiny new Ford Focus ST was waiting to take us there, so off we went.
This latest Focus ST is a substantial improvement on the previous model. Now that doesn’t mean the previous one was crap, far from it, but they have just got things so right with this latest one. Refined front and rear styling gives it some real street presence, presence that follows through to the interior where Recaro race seats grab hold of you and prepare you for an exciting ride.
Basic sportiness aside, the innovative additions in the new Focus ST3 in particular made it a very pleasant driving experience. The SYNC®2 connectivity system ,with high-resolution 8-inch colour touchscreen and voice control make the car a category leader of note, and best of all, the fancy tech is all so easy to use.
But back to the roadtrip and the first challenge of the day – sticking to the speed limit. This car is just a machine, and all its 184kWs feel like they are at your disposal at any given second. That’s quite a lot of power to run through the front wheels, but the ride is a brilliant one and just oh so much fun.
The previous Focus ST had a 2.5l engine with an output of 167kWs, this latest model benefits from some Ford ecoBoost magic and produces 184kWs from a 2.0 engine. Lighter – faster – better, it’s what every new car has to be nowadays to keep pace with its competitors, and again this car passes this test with flying colours.
From the highway to the country roads, the ride down the south coast allowed me to really enjoy what the new Focus ST has to offer, and excitement was really starting to grow for our arrival at this mystery racetrack.
Speaking of flying, it was now time to head out onto the track, where my instructor for the day got the ball rolling by trying to set a new lap record. I have done a fair few track days to know what a racing line is and what a car is capable of, but this felt a little more exhilarating than usual.
The track we were on was originally designed for drifting, so long corners were strung together with a long straight and some technical areas which meant you could certainly see what the car could offer in an all-round performance sense.
My three laps seemed to pass in a heartbeat, this was just too much fun to really comprehend as you can quite literally use all the power and capabilities that the car has to offer. Driving big fancy V8s is all good and well, but it is nearly us fun as this was. From race track to gymkana circuit, we burned a lot of rubber and gave that rev counter a good working over, with each roar of the engine providing bigger smiles each time.
Sadly though with an afternoon flight back to Joburg on the horizon, the time to depart rushed up on us, and we had to make our way back up to the north coast. Driving in a multi colours ST convoy, the car had well and truly blown me away by this stage.
Writing this now I can still hear that hearty roar from accelerated into the distance, it’s a sound you can never get tired of, and it is certainly one that I have been missing ever since.
I could continue to wax lyrically about the Ford Focus ST, but we have to ask the obvious question. Is it better than the Golf GTI?
Well, I quite simply don’t have the answer to this. When it comes to putting your money on the table, you have quite a lot to assess here before making your decision. But what I will tell you is that you aren’t going to get ST fun in a GTI.
For more info and to book a Test Drive – click here.
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Tags: ford focus st review, new ford focus st, ford st, ford ecoboost engine, ford performance