date : 21st May 2006
do we have here? A new cruise missile, courtesy of
Ford Motor Company.
Thereís nothing very subtle about the Ford Focus ST, which
could well stand for Super Toy.
It has all the latest
go-faster goodies scattered around the bodywork, such as
mesh intake guards, shrouded spotlights, in-your-face alloy
wheels, deep side-skirts, twin tail-pipes and a roof wing.
Fancy a dice?
Fortunately the power train
delivers on that exterior promise.
Essentially the Volvo T5
five-cylinder turbo engine, with plenty of grunt and a
glorious exhaust note, the Focus ST stands back for no hot
hatch. Itís pretty good behind
the wheel too, but with some stylistic reservations.
When youíre driving the
Focus ST, those interior misgivings fade into the
background. This is the new hot-hatch benchmark, with a
0-100 of 7,5 seconds, as tested by Car
That shades the 7,7 second effort for the Golf GTi, and when
it comes to top end, the Focus simply stomps on the Golf,
running on to a 237 km/h
An extra cylinder and 500 extra cc's over its typical two-litre turbo
hatch competition makes the ST superior where it really
counts, and thatís in overtaking acceleration.
320 Newton Metre torque curve is as flat as Table
Mountain, and the Ford-badged motor only runs out of steam
at 7000 rpm, which adds a mega excitement factor
to its lazy-boy lugging ability.
And the chassis offers a
driving experience to match the speed. To complement the fine
suspension set-up, the body shell feels as if itís hewn
from tungsten steel. The car imparts an amazing amount of
confidence to the driver, both in terms of its handling and
its ability to hang together from a reliability point of
You can lug along in sixth
all day thanks to the torque, but the carís sheer charisma
doesnít encourage that.
The Ford Focus ST simply
begs you to play around with the gearbox, because itís
such a slick-shifting journey through the six forward
Five cylinders and
turbocharging extracts a penalty. While Car Magazine
returned 11,4 litres per hundred, we
experienced a fuel appetite approaching addictive levels.
We averaged around 15 litres per hundred with the Focus, and with a
litre tank, youíll be making a nuisance of yourself at the
As for the looks that
Hendrik didnít fully embrace, we feel they are fine for
now, when Ford really needs to re-establish its once
proud performance heritage.
Ford Focus ST
Five-cylinder petrol turbo, 2 522 cc
- Power: 166
kW @ 6 000 rpm
- Torque: 320
Nm @ 1 600 rpm
Six-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h:
- Top speed:
consumption: 15 litres/100 km (estimated)
- Price: R250
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