Ford has just kicked off the Paris show blitz by revealing its new Focus ST at its own press event.

This car has taken a fair amount of flak since its initial reveal a few weeks ago, with the new, more hardcore look coming in for particular criticism.

Is it any more resolved in the flesh? At the front, yes. The huge grille looks purposeful, the blistered arches do just about enough to lift it beyond regular Focuses.

The rear is less appealing, mind you. It's an awkward blend of curves, creases and surfacing that could easily have worked on a pre-Schreyer Kia.

On a more encouraging note, I grabbed a minute in the driver's seat and discovered that the seating position is much lower than it was in the old model (it was one of that car's main flaws).

So the looks might divide, but at least you should sit in this latest ST, not on it.