With all the excitement surrounding the Focus RS it’s easy to forget about the ST. But although it may be lacking the visual impact and 300bhp punch, the ST is a very capable car. After the lukewarm Focus ST170, the ST marked the return of a proper fast Ford. Launched in 2005, it made the most of a great stock Focus chassis to become one of the best handling cars in its class and although at 1400kg it’s no lightweight, it feels very lively.
Powered by the same basic 2.5ltr 5-cylinder unit as the RS, the ST gets 222bhp and 236 lb/ft torque; a healthy figure compared to rivals such as the Civic Type-R and Golf GTI. With traction control off, it’ll struggle to get the power down on a damp road, but in the dry it’s a very rapid car.
There are three versions to choose from; the original ST1, ST2 and ST3. ST2s got Xenon lights, leather and other goodies and ST3s from ’08 on had a refreshed front end and interior. Recaros were standard and the fit and finish is very good. Available in 5 and 3-door versions, styling is sporty, but not OTT.
We like the ST a lot, especially the rorty sounding 5-cylinder sound track. But it’s quite a thirsty car, so you’ll spend a lot of time at the filling station! The Focus ST is a fine choice for someone looking for a fast and fun daily driver. The fact it can be tuned to over 300bhp with relative ease and reliability also makes it a sure fire winner. In fact we like it so much, we’re going to buy one.
Ford Focus ST stats (2004 – 2010)
Engine: 2.5ltr 5-cylinder turbo
Top speed: 150mph
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Early cars had a weak diaphragm in the oil breather system. It’s a common fault and a warranty recall on early cars. It’s cheap and easy to fix, but if left it can be as damaging as a cambelt giving up. Driveshafts are also known to go – especially if the car has been tuned. Aside from that, check for the usual full history and general tell tale signs of neglect such as badly kerbed rims, dirty interiors and bodywork dings.
TUNING A FOCUS ST
Being a larger lump, the 2.5ltr ST is ripe for more power. A simple remap will unleash up to 270bhp, while an induction kit can free up another 20bhp from the restrictive airbox/ECU combo. A decent performance exhaust system including sports cats and downpipe will help even more and should see you on the way to 300bhp. With this sort of power and the fact the ST weighs around 75kg less than the RS, straightline performance will be very close. The main issue is getting the power down without the fancy RevoKnuckle, so the best bet is a set of sticky tyres and a diff. Suspension is quite soft, so upgrade to harder springs or coliovers for ultimate adjustability such as KW Variant 3s.
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