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Shootout star: Ford Focus ST 3-door

by CAR magazine on 19/12/2008

Comments: 0

The Ford Focus ST has been a long-time favourite with us here at CAR, thanks to its ability to strike a balance between exciting performance with a degree of usability that is hard to match.

The latest model has undergone a number of stylistic tweaks to fit in with Ford’s ‘Kinetic’ design language. This includes a new front bumper with integrated fog light housings, an enlarged trapezoidal air intake and a new honeycomb grille. The bonnet has been re-styled to accommodate the angular new head light design, while the fender has also been revised to fuse with the new bumper design. The rear tailgate now sports a new diffuser-style bumper, which aids high speed stability and merges with the newly styled rear lights.

Despite all of the new styling cues, the ST will continue to be identifiable by its signature Electric Orange and Performance Blue colour options, while other details such as ST badges on the front wings and five-spoke alloy wheels with low-profile tyres further distinguish the ST model from its lesser siblings.

Under the bonnet the previous model’s turbocharged 2,5-litre, 5-cylinder engine continues to produce 166 kW at 6 000 r/min and 320 N.m of torque at 6 000 r/min. Mated with a six-speed manual transmission, this unit powered the Focus ST from 0-100 km/h in 7,5 seconds and on to a 237 km/h top speed in a CAR road test.

In addition to a lusty powerplant, the ST sports a number of features that impart a respectable degree of agility upon this model. These include a reduced ride height, quicker steering ratios, stiffened front and rear springs, and a rear anti-roll bar that contribute to the car’s agile handling. Stopping duties are taken care of by a set of 320 mm ventilated discs with four-piston brake callipers, while at the rear two-piston brake callipers combine with 280 mm discs. This set up is augmented by ABS with EBD, as well as an Electronic Stability Programme that brakes individual wheels as required under extreme driving conditions.

The Focus impressed in a previous Killarney track shootout, but this time there’s stiff competition from the likes of Audi, BMW, Renault, Opel, and Subaru to deal with…does the Blue Oval still have what it takes to be the best?

You can read South African circuit racing stars Hennie Groenewald and Philip Kekana’s track appraisals of the Focus ST in the January 2009 issue of CAR magazine, in which we put 18 of South Africa’s hottest hatches to the test at Killarney.

Listen to hot hatch exhaust notes.

Download wallpapers from the Track Shootout here: Batch 1, Batch 2 and Batch 3, or Batch 4.

Watch two Ultimate Hot Hatch Shootout videos

You can also view the behind-the-scenes or the Franschhoek Pass Shootout galleries.