December 7, 2022

Quick Fords are part of scorching hatch historical past, that’s a truth. The Ford Focus ST Mk2 firmly established itself as a contemporary efficiency favorite for an inexpensive price ticket. Right here’s what you must know earlier than shopping for one plus some tuning ideas. Sponsored by Adrian Flux.

Phrases: Daniel Bevis. Pictures: Matt Richardson

We’re spoilt for horsepower lately, we actually are. It wasn’t all that way back (or so it appears) that we have been squeezing incremental good points from wheezing CVHs and OHV eight-valvers to attempt to choose our manner north of 120hp or, if the gods have been smiling on us, even perhaps 130… the recent hatch recreation has snowballed past all recognition in recent times. However even throughout these escalating horsepower wars, with warrantied buying hatches crusing above 300hp and rival tuners bickering concerning the legitimacy of bridge-to-gantry instances, it’s nonetheless value taking a step again and simply marvelling on the superb lunacy of Ford’s determination to bolt a 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine into the Focus ST. And never solely that however strapping a turbo to it as properly. How brilliantly, spectacularly pointless was that?

The Mk2 Focus platform was a formidable base even in inventory shopper-spec kind; very similar to the Mk1 that got here earlier than it, Ford’s engineers put an enormous period of time, effort and funding into guaranteeing that each Focus that left the manufacturing unit was a candy little handler, so you could possibly be assured time even in a primary 1.4. Launched in 2004, the Mk2 used the Ford C1 platform, which was additionally shared with the likes of the Volvo S40 and Mazda3; it carried over the fundamental suspension design from the Mk1 Focus and wrapped it up in a bodyshell that was 10% stiffer, and eager consideration was paid to enhancing the fit-and-finish, and high quality of inside supplies.

The Ford Focus ST Mk2 launched in 2005, and it was a really efficient device in reframing folks’s perceptions of scorching Fords. Within the outdated days, the XR vary was the nice and cozy possibility and the RS automobiles have been the actually scorching ones. So if we as a substitute had ST and RS, then the identical ought to apply, sure? Properly, sure and no. The RS was nonetheless the warmer automobile, however there actually wasn’t something lukewarm concerning the Focus ST. Certainly, it positively blew folks’s minds with its use of a Volvo-derived five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbo, packing an unstressed 225hp. That’s Escort RS Cosworth energy in a automobile that’d fortunately and comfortably pootle to the retailers if it wanted to. And naturally, the modifying fraternity pounced on the factor with gusto. Race and rally developments rapidly trickled all the way down to highway automobiles, and earlier than you knew it each city throughout the UK was resonating to the gritty harmonic of 400hp Focuses with anti-lag.

The ST was obtainable in both three- or five-door format and the spec ranges obtainable have been ST, ST-2 and ST-3. ST was the bottom, and comparatively few automobiles have been offered on this spec because the higher ranges supplied such glorious worth by way of extra gear for the marginally bigger outlay. Normal gear supplied the ST-specific physique equipment and boot spoiler, air-conditioning, Recaro seats and entrance fog lamps; the ST-2 stage added Xenon headlights, a heated windscreen, ESP, a single-disc Sony stereo (as a substitute of the standard-issue Ford stereo), and extra audio system; ST-3 additionally offered leather-based trim with heated entrance seats, a sculpted rear bench that made it a four- slightly than five-seater, and a six-disc Sony stereo. There have been additionally a complete bunch of extras obtainable on the choices checklist, together with a sunroof, heated material seats, local weather management, Bluetooth connectivity, DVD sat-nav, Sony DAB, USB inputs, International Shut (which shut all of the home windows once you locked the automobile with the distant; this additionally outfitted five-door fashions with electrical rear home windows), the Gentle and Sight pack (auto lights, auto wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror), exterior stripe kits, solar-reflect windscreen, keyless entry, and parking sensors. So it’s fairly probably that once you’re looking out the classifieds, you gained’t discover two automobiles of precisely the identical spec.

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A facelift in 2008, which some consult with because the Mk2.5, introduced in Ford’s ‘Kinetic Design’ language. The identical primary form remained, however nearly each panel was revised; the nostril had new headlights and trapezoidal grilles, the wheel arches have been beefed up, the tailgate was re-contoured with differently-shaped glass, and there have been new tail lamps and a unique rear bumper.

The swansong of the pre-facelift automobiles (which followers consult with as ‘PFL’) was the ST500 particular version of 2007; the ‘500’ within the identify referred to the variety of examples constructed, and these specials got here in Panther Black with silver stripes, and a boisterous inside trimmed in crimson leather-based. From late-2008, Ford formally sanctioned some upgrades from revered aftermarket tuner Mountune. The Mountune MP260 equipment price £1120 plus labour and included a much bigger intercooler, Okay&N panel filter and a remap, elevating the numbers to 256hp and 295lb ft. Obtainable colors included Electrical Orange, Diamond White (and later, Frozen White and pearlescent Ice White), Panther Black, Colorado Pink, Moondust Silver, Sea Gray, and Efficiency Blue.

Ford Focus ST Mk2

Our Alternative

There’s an enormous quantity of selection in the marketplace. As a result of the Ford Focus ST Mk2 was such a wildly fashionable mannequin, you actually can pinpoint your spec and go trying to find a good instance, slightly than having your selections essentially restricted by provide as can so usually occur with efficiency automobiles. Our shout could be a facelifted three-door, in ST-3 spec so it comes with all of the toys. Discovering one totally loaded with choices could be good, such because the Gentle and Sight pack, parking sensors and DAB stereo. And it’d must be completed in Electrical Orange as a result of there’s no level messing about is there?

What To Look For: Ford Focus ST Mk2

That Volvo-sourced motor is an impressively powerful unit, though there are a couple of key issues to maintain an eye fixed out for. A persistent misfire, coupled with mayonnaise across the oil filler and white smoke from the exhaust, is an indication of break up cylinder liners. It’s not overly advanced to treatment, however you’ll be altering the cambelt and water pump similtaneously shimming the liners so it turns into an costly job. It’s value highlighting that this failure happens in comparatively few Focuses, however there’s no manner of figuring out whether or not your automobile will undergo; a number of aftermarket tuners supply what’s often called a ‘block mod’ as a preventative measure, for round £800.

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Enhance solenoids are a weak level – the needle in your increase gauge is the telltale right here: if it dances round at random, or struggles to recover from the midway marker, that’ll be your problem. Alternators may go haywire, and it will in all probability throw up a battery warning mild and/or make the headlights flicker. And one other pretty widespread drawback is for the oil filter housing diaphragm to separate – if the automobile’s making an unsettling whistling noise at idle, whip out the dipstick and see if it stops; if that’s the case, that’s an issue that wants fixing. A brand new unit is
round £250.

Ford Focus ST Mk2

By way of the physique, the primary bother spot is the place the rear bumper meets the arches; if the bumper is even barely misaligned then it’ll incrementally rub the paint away which can then rust if left unchecked. Ford’s personal repair was in the end to suit small plastic pads between the 2 factors – and also you’ll additionally discover this on later automobiles across the boot lid, which was vulnerable to water ingress. The tailgate hinge seam fails and lets
the rain in, so test for a moist or musty-smelling boot.

Contained in the cabin, issues are typically powerful and hard-wearing, with the one actual problem being the Recaro seats: whereas they’re impressively supportive and attractively designed, the bases will be vulnerable to cracking – you’ll know if this has occurred as a result of they’ll make a creaking noise once you sit down.

AWD Focus ST

Ford Focus ST Mk2 Tuning

The Ford Focus ST Mk2 has actually been embraced by the tuning neighborhood, to the extent that there’s an astonishingly big selection of off-the-shelf components obtainable for any given improve phase all through the automobile. The specialists typically suggest beginning with an exhaust and a remap to extract some spectacular good points with minimal stress and outlay: a Milltek 3” cat-back system is £650, and when that is allied to a Revo Stage 1 remap (£299) you’ll be north of 260hp. Plundering the intensive Airtec vary may also pay dividends: the Focus’s inventory intercooler is fairly poor (it was initially derived from a diesel mannequin), so an Airtec Stage 2 Gen-3 intercooler (£299) is a no brainer; the corporate additionally makes a wonderful Group A air filter with chilly air consumption for £159, and downpipe/de-cat packages begin at £259.

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The following step is to go to Stage 2 – so long as you’ve correctly upgraded your exhaust, induction and intercooler, a Revo Stage 2 map will see you past 300hp. At this stage, it is smart to hold out the aforementioned block mod, as the additional stresses will exacerbate any liner points that exist; it’s additionally a good suggestion to improve to the clutch from the bigger-brother Focus RS, which is round £950 fitted.

In terms of suspension, the KW V3 setup is extremely regarded at £1470, mated to a full Powerflex bush equipment (£470) and Whiteline anti-lift bushes (£177). For the brakes, Okay-Sport’s monster eight-pot entrance setup with Ferodo DS2500 pads is available in at £1200; SCC rear discs and Ferodo pads to match the fronts are £320. Goodridge braided traces are £75.

As a substitute for the piece-by-piece method, Demon Efficiency has developed a bundle that proves you don’t must spend outrageous sums of cash to show a Mk2 ST225 into a reasonably savage highway weapon. Its all-in setup includes Revo Stage 2 software program, KMS Part 18 turbo-back exhaust system with de-cat pipe, Forge DV, Okay&N 57i induction equipment, AutoSpecialists plenum, and an Airtec front-mount intercooler. This prices £2341.99 totally fitted, giving the Focus just a little over 300hp with whole reliability.

AWD Focus ST

Verdict

Ford has all the time been a go-to marque for therefore many scorching hatch lovers, and the Mk2 Focus ST proved that they nonetheless had the chops to play with the massive children whereas additionally maintaining it actual within the mainstream. Certainly, the Mk2 ST was actually the non secular successor to the enduring Mk1 Focus RS, and it’s been so universally embraced by the fanatic scene and the tuner market that it’s destined to go down within the annals of historical past as an all-time traditional. On High Gear, Clarkson named it ‘the ASBO’, however slightly than wilt within the headlights, the Focus took the hooligan concept and ran with it, the outlaw picture serving to to bolster its status as a mischief-maker. At present, the Ford Focus ST Mk2 represents an enormous quantity of energy, gear and high quality for the value. And the tuning potential? It’s positively stratospheric.

Ford Focus ST Mk2 insurance coverage quote

Automotive: Ford Focus ST-2

Worth: £4500

Driver and information: 28-year-old male, with a full NCB, dwelling within the TN14 submit code, with a clear license. The automobile is parked on the drive every night time and has mild modifications together with wheels, suspension, exhaust and air filter.

Quote: £350 together with insurance coverage premium tax / £250 extra / Complete cowl

Adrian Flux says…

“The Focus ST-2 is a cracking automobile however should you’re available in the market for a scorching hatch, have you ever thought of a Civic Sort R? The EP3 and FN2 are each in the identical worth bracket because the ST however may very well be the safer possibility. You gained’t have the kudos of turbocharged motor however you’re going to get added reliability, and costs of the EP3 are set to rise, so it may very well be an important funding automobile…”