This ST-3- based run-out was launched in 2007 ahead of the 2008 facelift and offered only in Panther Black, with red leather Recaros, extra detailing, special badging and a heat-reflecting windscreen. One dealer wants £5490 for his 2008 car with 124,000 miles and a full Ford history (19 stamps). The facelift brought a restyled nose with new headlights and wings while the tail got a new bumper and diffuser.
The dashboard was dressed in fake carbonfibre, the ignition went keyless with a power button and the ST-1 finally got ESP. Those are the features to expect but under the bonnet is where the fun lies. Yes, that really is a five-cylinder, 2.5-litre turbocharged Volvo engine you’re looking at. Forget stately forays to Acorn Antiques, though; in the Focus ST it produces 222bhp and 236lb ft. A sound symposer directs its delicious burblings to the cabin.
Expect to find plenty of remapped examples. Those fitted with the Mountune Performance Pack are worth digging out, with power rising to 252bhp and torque to 295lb ft.
A Stage 2 tune to around 300bhp shouldn’t require strengthened internals but expect evidence of such work beyond this. When looking at an early ST, and especially a tuned one, check the oil filler for oil andwater sludge and the clutch for slipping. Pre-facelift and modified cars are known for splitting their cylinder liners and cooking the clutch; the 2008 facelift resolved many of these problems.
Given the number of used Mk2 STs on the market, you can afford to be picky – not just over condition but specification and options too. Among the latter, those worth seeking out include privacy glass, parking sensors and an electric sunroof. Prices of three- and five-door STs are broadly the same. Colour- wise, the plainer shades emphasise the car’s nicely understated looks. Whichever hue you choose, a full book of service stamps and premium tyres are essential, and beware the Cat C and D write-offs out there.
How to get one in your garage:
An expert’s view, Steve Bennett, ST-FOCUS.COM: “To my mind, the Focus ST Mk2 is the greatest hot hatch ever. I love the idea that one day a Ford exec said: ‘I know, let’s chuck this big old five-cylinder motor in a Focus.’ I’ve been selling them for more than eight years and I’ve sold hundreds. It has its niggles – split liners, weak clutch, whistling oil filler – but they’re rare. On the whole, it’s reliable. Prices for the best late cars have stabilised. You’ll easily pay over £11,000. Partly it’s because the current car isn’t as good and partly because late, low-mile Mk2 STs are getting rarer. Buy one while you can.”