December 7, 2022

We bounce behind the wheel of the Mountune Puma ST M235, earlier than putting in the M260 software program and going out for an additional play.

Evaluate from Quick Ford. Phrases: Jamie King. Photographs: David Moore

Having already bought to grips with the Mk8 Fiesta ST very early on, we knew it wouldn’t be lengthy earlier than Mountune began providing comparable upgrades for the Fiesta-based Puma ST. And certain sufficient, as quickly as the primary deliveries started, a recent Frozen White instance rolled up outdoors Mountune’s HQ prepared for some improvement work to start.

With the Puma sharing a lot of its platform with the Mk8 Fiesta, Mountune might shortly get its tried-and-tested software program engaged on the mini-SUV too. We’ve already pushed the event Mk8 Fiesta ST with comparable software program put in (see Quick Ford’s Might 2019 difficulty), however issues don’t stand nonetheless lengthy within the tuning sport, and that (M225) improve has already been changed by the marginally extra highly effective, up to date M235 software program (which Quick Ford additionally examined within the September 2020 difficulty).

Mountune Puma ST M235 drive

The M235 is what I used to be going to be testing within the Mountune Puma ST, however with Covid-delays and a busy summer time present schedule, it was a couple of weeks earlier than we might set a date with Mountune. And consider us once we say issues don’t stand nonetheless for lengthy, as a result of by the point we’d bought a date within the diary, Mountune had launched its next-level software program improve, the M260. Cut price! Two for the value of 1.

Once we arrive in sunny Essex, the Mountune Puma ST is already loaded with the M235 map, so we take it out to see what enhancements this first-stage improve provides.

I need to admit, I fairly just like the Ford Puma ST; it provides actual world practicality with a real sense of enjoyable and correct efficiency. But it surely’s not with out its flaws – the build-quality isn’t nearly as good because the Fiesta, and the automobile squeaks and rattles after only a few-thousand miles.

See also  MAZDA MX-5 MK4 REVIEW

Fortunately, the M235 software program does an excellent job of waking-up the inventory automobile, nearly sufficient to take my thoughts off that annoying squeak behind my proper ear. The M235 appears to sharpen the ability supply, and whereas there’s a particular enhance in energy, it’s this further urgency and willingness to get going that impresses probably the most.

Mountune Puma ST M260

It really works brilliantly out on the leafy Essex countryside roads, the place the elevated driving place and wonderful chassis mix with the snappier throttle response and elevated energy and torque to offer the inventory Puma ST and good ol’ poke up the bottom. It’s a incredible entry-level improve that doesn’t detract from any of the Puma’s on a regular basis practicality – all of it feels very OEM, and you’ll even apply it to cheapo 95RON gasoline if you would like (though energy output will clearly be much less).

However we suspect most readers are extra excited about what occurs while you add {hardware} upgrades, fill it up with 99RON, and actually start to show the wick up. And that’s precisely what the M260 software program does.

Mountune Puma ST M260 drive

To run the M260, Mountune recommends an induction equipment, cost pipe improve and efficiency intercooler are fitted. If they’re, the revised software program will ship as much as 256bhp and 269lb.ft – and that is sufficient to make a giant distinction on the highway.

With all of the {hardware} already in place on this automobile, we discover a secure spot to tug over, stick the SMARTflash adapter within the OBD port, and seize the iPad that Mountune has kindly left within the glovebox. Inside a matter of minutes, we’ve converted to the M260 software program, and we’re prepared to go out in the hunt for some nation lanes once more.

Instantly, you possibly can really feel the M260 has extra chew – even at part-throttle it sounds extra aggressive, with extra amplified whooshing and hissing coming from the consumption and turbo in comparison with earlier than.

See also  Ford Focus ST Edition Mk4 Review

And it definitely pops and bangs on the overrun when in Sport mode. To be honest, so does the M235-equipped automobile because of one thing Mountune engineers playfully seek advice from as ASMO – Anti-Social Mountune Overrun, but it surely does appear extra aggressive with the M260 put in.

It’s addictive, slightly bit infantile, and makes you alter your driving model as a way to chase the largest and loudest bangs; foot flat to the ground, let the enhance begin to construct, then a sudden carry off the throttle – ideally timed simply as you go below a bridge or enter a tunnel.

Both method, it’s making me smile, and that’s what this Mountune-fettled Puma does a lot greater than the inventory automobile can.

One other neat addition is the full-throttle shifting that Mountune has added as a part of a Efficiency model of the calibration – you possibly can select between Efficiency or ASMO when importing through the SMARTflash. In all truthfully, similar to the improved pops and bangs, it’s a little bit of a gimmick that in all probability doesn’t make you any sooner in any respect. However, like the additional overrun noise, it makes you’re feeling sooner and makes the entire driving expertise extra enjoyable – and if we’re not setting lap instances and chasing tenths of a second, absolutely that’s what driving quick Fords is all about?

The additional energy, which the Mountune Puma ST M260 appears to carry onto for longer than the M235, encourages you to press on that little bit more durable, and that’s when the Puma’s chassis actually comes alive. Perhaps it’s me rising in confidence behind the wheel, perhaps it’s the additional efficiency from the M260, or probably it’s a mix of each, however now we’re beginning to discover the boundaries of the dealing with.

On the identical roads earlier within the morning, the Puma was taking all the things in its stride, however now as I assault those self same corners extra aggressively I can begin to really feel the ATB entrance diff working because it hunts for grip on the unfastened stone-chippings, and the rear finish is beginning to really feel loads twitchier at these speeds.

See also  PORSCHE 911 GT2 RS ROAD TEST

Little doubt a set of barely stiffer and decrease springs will assist enhance stability, however the snappiness is without doubt one of the key substances that makes the Puma ST such a hoot to drive, so I wouldn’t wish to dial all of it out fully.

The Puma ST has divided the quick Ford neighborhood, however we have to acknowledge that instances have modified and trendy quick Fords have wanted to adapt to maintain up.

Is the Ford Puma ST ever going to have the kudos of a homologation-special limited-edition just like the RS500? After all not.

Mountune Puma ST M260

Am I suggesting you promote your Cossie showpiece or RS observe automobile and change it with a three-cylinder SUV? Not going.

However is it a automobile value contemplating as various to the ‘common’ on a regular basis automobile used for day by day duties? Too proper it’s.

Consider it like that, and it begins to make plenty of sense. Mountune has hit the candy spot for this style; the M260 is reasonably priced (at round £1600 for software program with supporting {hardware}) as a result of, whereas it utilises a handful of key {hardware} upgrades, it avoids prohibitively costly elements corresponding to GPF filters and sports activities cats, but it completely transforms the driving the expertise of the inventory automobile.

It’ll by no means change your RS, however with the Mountune Puma ST M260 put in you would possibly simply end up selecting to take it out extra usually that you simply initially deliberate.

Mountune Puma specs:

M260 calibration (or M235 calibration), Mountune induction equipment, Mountune intercooler improve, Mountune cost pipe improve, Mountune quick shift, Mountune high-flow turbo elbow, Mountune OZ Leggera HLT wheels