Blasting onto the local hot-hatch seen back in 2012, the Ford Focus ST is soon to be updated, and there’s a hardcore RS version not far behind.
So, with that in mind, we’ve come here today to Sandown Raceway, to take part in one of our weekend warrior track tests…
Ford’s replacement for the XR5 Turbo, the Focus ST costs a little over $38,000 and comes with a super torquey turbocharged 2.0-litre engine with 184kW and 340Nm.
Outside, it’s highlighted by a large honeycomb grille, these cool ‘ST’ badges, a funky central exhaust pipe, and 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres.
Inside, there are chunky Recaro bucket seats, more ‘ST’ logos and alloy pedal covers.
Time for the fun stuff…
Now according to the spec sheet peak power isn't until 5000rpm, but peak torque is accessible from as low as 2000rpm – and you can feel that as soon as you hit the circuit.
Now the Focus ST gets a sportier suspension tune compared to your normal Focus. Now you can feel that it's a little more strapped down but it's still quite rolly and there’s a very lively rear end on the thing.
And, at least on these opening laps, the brakes feel quite good underfoot.
All Focus STs come exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission.
Now that little noise you may have heard there was a little bit of wheel spin, and unlike cars like the Megane RS from Renault, Ford opted to not fit the Focus ST with a limited-slip front differential, which means all that power and all that torque is just being hammered home to the front wheels without much help from anything.
Now on the straight here at Sandown, it's really not an issue at all but you can feel it coming out of the corners – there is a bit of torque steer and you get a bit of a chirp from the odd tyre or two.
The steering's… The steering's pretty good. The steering's quite responsive. There's not tons of feedback there but it will tip in – and again, apart from a bit of a chirp of wheel spin – the combination and the package is actually quite good.
Now we've got our three gauges on the dash. We've got our oil temp, boost pressure and also oil pressure. It's always good to keep an eye on things like that, particularly if you are doing some track days and especially if it's a road car like this.
So it redlines just shy of 7000rpm… that's all of third at 160km/h, as we come down the main straight.
It moves around a little bit. It's a little bit pogo stick, little bit wobbly, but nothing too bad. The brakes are starting to get a little bit warm – move the pedal a little bit further to the floor – but again it is holding up quite well.
That's 190km/h, but I might look straight ahead for this bit.
We'll tip in here – that's fourth. Little bit of motion.
Pop down here. And again those brakes just starting to get a little bit out of their comfort zone.
But that engine noise is excellent too. You've got the induction sound coming straight into the cabin. And while you know it's done intentionally, it's kind of a good thing – means that you can actually hear what's going on and you can hear when those revs rise when you are getting a bit of wheel spin.
Still cheaper than a Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Renault Megane RS, the Ford Focus ST remains a lively and gutsy little car, and it really impressed us out there on the circuit today.
Sure, the tyres got a little bit warm and the brakes got a little bit smokey, but for an occasional track-day blast, it’s more than capable… Actually, I reckon we might go out for one more lap.