Published on October 30th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Ford Focus ST Test Drive. It Arrives To Challenge The VW Golf R
There was a time when Ford was famous for its performance cars in Malaysia. It started in the 1970â€™s with the British made Ford Escort Sports 1.6, then came the Japanese made Ford Laser â€˜Sâ€™ twin carburettor which was followed with the infamous TX3 1.6i and ended with the classic TX3 1.8i in the 1990â€™s. However soon after that Ford Malaysia product planners decided to concentrate on the pickup truck segment and ignored the passenger car segment all together.
Now comes the all new Focus which is a global No.1 selling car. After the huge success of the Ford Fiesta, the Focus should see a strong following. Let me explain why. The all-new Focus is packed with more smart technologies and features that put the fun and convenience into driving. Generally found only in larger, more expensive cars, many of these smart features are a first in the mid-sized car segment. Leading the way is the award-winning Ford SYNCâ„¢ system, powered by Microsoft, which enables drivers to make calls or play their favourite music using voice commands. Smart features include Smart Keyless Entry and Ford Power Start. All these features are carried into the Focus ST.
So does it drive? Slip behind the wheel and into the heavily bolstered RecaroÂ® seat, you depress the ignition and the 250-hp 4-cylinder Ecoboost engine burbles to life. This engine produces a torque of 340 Newton meters (the same as a Porsche Cayman) and launches you to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds in the 6 speed manual gearbox (5.6 seconds in the Cayman).
Use the throttle to its max and this ST shoots forward and gets you to redline almost before you have time to realise your speed. Four-wheel discs with ABS keep things controllable and this high performance hatch on the road. Ford has maintained the Torque Vectoring Control (TVC) system which applies brake torque to the inner wheel through a corner to reduce understeer. This system gives the Focus ST very controlled ride at speeds. Upgraded shock absorbers and springs lower the ST chassis by 10mm compared to other Focus models, giving the performance car a more aggressive stance while the centre of gravity is brought closer to the road, which aids precise cornering. The rear uprated suspension knuckles and an all-new anti-roll bar design provide outstanding feedback and control.
Matching the ST’s forward thrust with certainty is the heavily weighted steering that directs the ST’s heading with good feel and feedback to the palms. Turn the thick rimmed steering and it feels like your palms are connecting to the road. This is a communicative car. There was no tram-lining or flexing as we took on our neighbourhood uneven and badly maintained roads even under pressure. We pushed the ST on a deserted back road and it returned predictable handling and remained tight, flat and completely unflustered. Drive it hard along some tight country roads and the shivers become reality as the hairs on the back of your neck begin to stand during wide-open throttle acceleration along some easy switchbacks. Push it harder and it keeps to its trajectory but one must have the right â€˜behind the wheelâ€™ training to truly exploit this new Focus ST.Â
The exhausts emits a delightful sound and combined with striking colour, Tangerine Scream, a signature ST colour, we were noticed easily by all other road users around us. The Focus ST comes with Fordâ€™s Extended Service Plan (ESP) which offers a free maintenance programme that covers parts and labour for up to three years or 60,000km. In addition to free routine inspection and maintenance services, Fordâ€™s ESP covers free replacements for normal wear-and-tear items and only original manufacturer (OEM) parts are used. The Focus ST comes with Fordâ€™s standard three-year or 100,000km bumper-to-bumper new-vehicle warranty. The all-new Ford Focus ST 5-door hatchback sells at RM208,888 (on-the-road with insurance for Peninsular Malaysia and private registration only). Available colours include Tangerine Scream, Race Red, Spirit Blue and Panther Black. For more information on the all-new Ford Focus ST, visit www.ford.net.my or www.facebook.com/FordFocusMY.
Ford Focus ST Specifications
Engine: 4 Cylinder EcoBoost Turbo Direct Injection
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Max power: 250bhp @ 5500rpm
Max torque: 340Nm @ 1750rpm
Top Speed: 248km/h
0-100 km/h: 6.5 secs