Ford Focus ST First: Drive review

What is it?

This is the third generation of the ST, Ford's hot Focus, and probably the sportiest version we are going to see (an RS version currently looks unlikely, alas).

This version gets the most powerful ST engine so far – 247 bhp, providing a top speed of 154 mph and a 0-62 mph time of 6.5 seconds. However, it is by no means the biggest at 2.0 litres and four cylinders, rather than the 2.5 litres and five cylinders of the previous generation. This one is more powerful and way more economical (CO2 output goes down from 225 g/km to 169 g/km, for a big tax saving), but enthusiasts may worry that it has lost the fabulous five-cylinder warble along with the dipsomaniac thirst.

The rest of the ST looks pretty much as you would expect. Nice big 18 inch alloys, a mild bodykit, sports seats and the now-traditional ST pack of three extra instruments on top of the dashboard (for oil pressure, oil temperature and turbo boost). However, the big news is that there will be an ST estate, as a kind of junior Audi RS4 Avant. When the second generation ST appeared, we asked Ford if they would make an ST estate, but they reckoned there was no market for it. Seven years later, Ford has decided that the market is now ready for a hot estate that does not wear a German premium badge.