Although I had an early brief test drive using a left hand drive new Focus ST up the Goodwood hillclimb course in June, this week a few motoring writers got our 'mits' on UK spec right hand drive models in 'the smoke' - London to you.
After that we blasted out West and down the M3 to a test track 'in the sticks' at Longcross Chertsey.
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Ok enough of the John Thaw and Dennis Waterman lingo and the Sweeney memory lane and back to the script.
The new Ford Focus ST is the most powerful ST ever. This generation uses a 2.0-litre, four cylinder, turbocharged Ecoboost petrol engine which replaces the previous 2.5-litre, five cylinder unit.
The new unit is 10 per cent more powerful with 247bhp, 250lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm and emits 20 per cent lower CO2 emissions with 20 per cent better fuel consumption.
This new engine will officially return 39mpg with 169g/km of CO2. On test in and around London and out West and back, 30mpg was my ST hatchbacks consumption.
All models have a six-speed manual gearbox with drive to the front wheels through a new torque steer compensation function with torque vectoring control, improved dynamic cornering control and electronic stability system.
Other chassis changes include a 10mm lowered sports suspension with ST specific dampers, springs and shock absorbers. The rear suspension has uprated knuckles and there is a new anti-roll bar designed to give more handling feedback to the driver leading to more nailed-down cornering control.
Ford Focus ST first drive
Grip, balance and agility are the prime should-haves for a fast and safe sports car, even a sports family hatch. Some do not have these elements or they are good in one area and poor in another or one element is achieved at the expense of another and normally ride comfort is compromised at least.
Where the ST scores, it has all these three elements without compromises. It feels safe, it feels secure, it feels predictable and balanced, even under extreme fast cornering conditions on a track. If it safe and secure there, it will serve the buying public well.
It's not as potent as the last and final Focus RS but it is faster and better mannered than the previous ST, so it's a compromise, but not a compromise too far.
Ford Focus ST equipment
All models have 18-inch alloy wheels, Recaro sports seats, air conditioning, keyless start, alarm, electric windows/door mirrors and DAB radio.
The ST-2 sees the addition of partial leather upholstery, uprated aircon and sound system and auto headlights and wipers. ST-3 adds full leather upholstery, heated front seats, bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and rear parking sensors.
Ford Focus ST design
The new STs have a considerably upgraded sports interior appearance over standard Focus versions with unique dials and lower positioned seats.
Outside the ST has the usual muscular sports style bumpers, bulging side skirts, racy signature trapezoidal grille and rear roof spoiler.
There is a centre exit tailpipe said to be designed to look like Darth Vader's Tie Advanced Fighter in the Star Wars films. Away from flights-of-fancy the exhaust system does have a sound symposer that gives an exhaust tone similar to the previous ST five pot models. The new ST looks good but it doesn't have the visual impact of the last generation Focus RS, it's more subtle, refined and less hardcore.
The standard family car Ford Focus is already one of the sharpest handling cars in its segment, as good as the Golf, better than the Astra and more comfortable than both. The ST specification enhances still further the class-leading agility although the ride is firm but not uncomfortable.
The new sharp reacting steering rack just needs 1.8 turns for lock-to-lock change of direction and the new anti torque-steer measures still retain enough feedback to remind the driver there is 247bhp under the bonnet. Acceleration grip, cornering turn-in, balance, poise and engine response all impressed on the road and test track. Definitely a 'nice one guv' from me.
Ford Focus ST-3, 5-Door Hatchback (best selling model so far).
2.0-litre, four cylinder Ecoboost turbocharged petrol, 247bhp, 250lb ft of torque from 1,750rpm, front wheel drive, 6-speed manual.
154mph, 0-62mph 6.5 seconds, 39mpg, (30mpg on test), CO2 169g/km, VED road tax £275 First Year rate then £195 second year onwards, BIK company car tax 23%.
Best Ford Focus ST yet in terms of price, performance, fun and ability.
Not a Focus RS in terms of striking visual impact.