This 356bhp Focus makes an awesome track day weapon, but it's a bit too wild for the road

Our Verdict

Ford Focus ST
This four-cylinder Focus feels lighter at the front than its five-pot predecessor

The Ford Focus ST has gained a new four-pot motor, but does it have what it takes to gun for the Golf GTI?

20 November 2007

What is it?

Still waiting for the new Ford Focus RS? Join the club. But the hottest Ford hatch at present, the 223bhp Focus ST, is showing no signs of getting any hotter.

This, notorious tuners Brodie Brittain Racing reckons, is where it comes in, with its ST-350. For the princely sum of £9795 over the price of your own ST, BBR will lower its suspension, tweak the geometry, fit a big-bore stainless steel exhaust system and slot in a limited-slip differential.

Oh, and then they’ll take your engine to bits, fit a different turbo and a clever air inlet system, and remap the ECU. The end result is, wait for it, 356bhp and 380lb ft.

What’s it like?

It’s a mighty lump, no doubt about it; there’s torque from barely 2000rpm, but unlike the regular ST, which tightens up considerably at around 5000rpm, the BBR will happily rev through to over 6500rpm.

We can believe BBR’s claimed 0-60mph time of 5.0sec and the limited maximum of 165mph. There can be few £30k cars as rapid as this, and fewer still will sound as good.

On twistier roads, though, things can get a little messy. The suspension tweaks (bottom wishbones, mainly) do an admirable job of coping with so much twist through the front wheels; the ST’s fine damping has largely been retained too. But you can still light up the front tyres on the way out of third gear bends. And that’s in the dry.

When things get bumpy, the LSD tends to deliver spectacular but lurching acceleration. Short-shifting helps, but do that and you’re half the way back to a normal ST anyway, shunning this car’s incredible power levels for its safer, easier-to-manage mid-range torque.

Should I buy one?

While it’s all good clean fun, this car ultimately raises as many new questions as it delivers answers to old problems. As a track-day weapon it has considerable merit. But it’s not as incredible as the prospect might appear as a road car, and it’s definitely not the new RS; only Ford itself can deliver that.

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Join the debate

Comments
9

20 November 2007

wait a couple of years and it'll come down to £18K then it'll be sensible i mean come on a 2 or 3 year old M3- there 's no comparison is there?

Peter Cavellini.

21 November 2007

well, yes actually. I can't say spending 30K on a hatchback makes sense, but seeing as i have no desire to own an M3 it opens up a whole host of other, more interesting cars, for similar money.

21 November 2007

Well Michael i sold my M3 for £23K it was an 04' with 24Kish on the clock it never went wrong (can't say that about Fords) it had a couple of tyres .I understand that its not cheap to run but the experience was epic- its just that i don't think its a car for the highways it will be rattle the fillings out of your teeth and will probably only be manageable on the road by short shifting so you'd better of with a bog standard ST!.Still want to give someone 10k of your hard earned ?.

Peter Cavellini.

22 November 2007

Didn't know BMW's never went wrong!!! Reminds me of an ex girlfriends father who didn't want her to get a Golf, saying VW's are ok until they go wrong. He preffered Vauxhalls, I argued all cars are ok until they go wrong.

BBR are well experienced in making many cars perform better through well chosen modifications, they will undoubtedly be offering a warranty with the conversion in a similar way to Cooper Works do on the Mini.

As the previous posts said, it offers M3 performance without the it being a BMW, for a select number of car enthusiast without sheeps brains, this is enough.

23 November 2007

300 plus HP through the front wheels?

Do me a favour.

25 November 2007

Who did you think I was abusing?

26 November 2007

We've already seen what too much power can do to a car, take the Astra VXR, torque steers like hell. Ford really will have to put a 4WD drivetrain on the car to make it work.

26 November 2007

[quote Griffin911]We've already seen what too much power can do to a car, take the Astra VXR, torque steers like hell. Ford really will have to put a 4WD drivetrain on the car to make it work.[/quote]

Yep - agreed. And call it a Subaru.

I'll put money on it that someone will buy one and put an even more powerful stereo in it.

It's a chav* car - there's nothing clever about it.

*Chav - Council House And Violent.

27 November 2007

[quote scummyplum]

*Chav - Council House And Violent.

[/quote]

haha! that a great name for chavs, anyhow, new subaru will be an absolute riot, everyone else can learn a thing or two about managing power from them. take brabus for example, the one reason mercedes didn't give the SL 974ft lb of torque is because it cannot be managed.

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