Really had a ball flogging the Focus ST on track the other week. GoPro video came back as a photo-set by accident, so left with *just* these gorgeous 120 photos of the new slugger. Kona Blue is the color, with minimal options and an as-tested price very close to the $25k base.
Versus the $36k of the RS, the ST really earned its keep out there in the twisties. Strong brakes, awesome front diff grip that felt totally understeer-proof, plus a snorty throttle intake and shouty new exhaust. The stick is as feelsome and snicky as ever — handling the 270-pound-feet of torque from this turbo four with ease.
Not high in the banked oval, unfortunately. Just a bit of on-camera hooning in the roads nearby. The town name of “No Limits” seemed applicable to flying past dozens of vacant track parking lots.
The changes for the 252-horsepower 2015 model are perfect updates. A new nose with a low and mean style, standard LED headlight accent blades, HID headlights for the ST2 and ST3 trim packs, and standard Rado Grey wheels.
The tail is also revised with a new rear window shape, tweaked taillamps and overall hunkered-down and butch stance. The central exhaust fighter-pipe lives — and snorts!
The cabin has updated tech and HVAC controls, plus standard backup camera.
HD Rainy-Day First Drive Review
Performance-wise, the Focus ST feels more eager than ever. The whole chassis has been retuned, with extra emphasis on the steering — which is all-new and much better. It is quick and incisive on scruff-of-the-neck cornering, but mostly just very oily and heavy like a true performance car.
In the downpour of our test day, the Focus ST was a ball of wheelspin. This can be a helpful way to learn about a car, especially a high-power front-driver.
The front wheels do spin fairly effortlessly, with no sense of axle tramp or rack windup or aggressive ESC intervention. A six-speed manual is still the only transmission, so you have control of the whole process.
Upshift to third on full throttle and it finally hooks up. The new ST feels fast. Much faster than its carry-over engine outputs would suggest. This may be Ford protecting the upcoming-to-USA Focus RS with AWD.)
So let’s say the ST is actually making 275-horsepower. From the cockpit, the Focus ST feels closer to the Golf R than the GTI on actual power outputs.
The test ST wears its Tangerine Scream paintwork proudly for its $600 option price, while this ST2 pack car has the HID headlamps, Recaro seats and loaded feature list.
On the video, I say that the LED piece is not lit when the main beams are on. This is incorrect – Please see it in both modes below.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
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