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First drive: the 271bhp Mountune Ford Focus ST MP275

£24,490 when new

Car specifications

Budget
£24,490
Brake horsepower
271bhp
Fuel consumption
41.5mpg
0–62 mph
5.70s
CO2
159g/km
Max speed
154Mph

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This isn’t the new Ford Focus RS

No, it isn’t. Instead it’s the car to have if you absolutely have to have the fastest Ford hatch that’s available right now.

It’s a Focus ST with the optional Mountune pack. You should care about this, because it’s affordable and fully warrantied, and when Mountune offered this pack on the old five-cylinder ST it created a car that was pretty remarkable.
 
Same again, then?

I’d love to say so, but the gains made to the four cylinder engine are less noteworthy. While the old five-cylinder went from 222bhp to 256bhp and gained 59lb ft of torque, the four-pot only gets an extra 24bhp and 45lb ft over the 247bhp and 250lb ft boggo ST.
 
Not a vast difference between old and new…

True, but there was always this rumour with the old Mountune Focus ST that the claims were rather conservative and it was actually pumping out a fair bit more.

And even if that wasn’t true, it felt true. The old Mountune felt notably more rapid than a standard ST. This one…
 
Doesn’t?

Bang on. The power delivery is the same, strong and broad across the range with little reason to hang on to the redline, and because the noise isn’t markedly different (despite the addition of an induction kit), you don’t get much impression that things have changed.

The standard ST is fast and responsive, and, er, so’s this one. Maybe a fraction rortier up front, but that’s about it.


 
What about when you get on a good road?

While just clogging the Mountune ST in a straight line in third gear isn’t that informative of any changes, sending it down a twisting road with cambers, curves, dips and all the rest does reveal a difference: more torque steer.
 
Ooh, bad thing.

Not necessarily, just something you need to work around, which you can by being more circumspect with the throttle. And the tugging through the steering is of the persistent-yet-controllable variety, rather than pulling the nose all over the road.
 
In fact it’s all rather enjoyable, but without a proper differential the Focus feels a bit looser - less body control and chassis sharpness than, say, a Seat Leon Cupra. The Focus ST has always been a magnanimous sort of hot hatch, less serious-minded than a Megane, bit more exuberance, and that character is still there.
 
And the kit itself?

The MP275 upgrade kit costs £1,195 (including VAT, but fitting – only 1.5 hours apparently – will be extra). That buys you the induction kit, new intercooler and a recalibrated ECU. And don’t forget a Focus ST is a steal – prices start at £22,495, although the ST-2 you actually want is £24,245.
 
And if you want to indulge yourself further, then Mountune has a range of other options for your ST, including spoilers, graphics and wheels.

The kit doesn’t harm your emissions at all, and claims to drop the 0-62mph time from 6.5secs to 5.7secs. As we discussed earlier, it doesn’t feel like that much of a gain.

But then the ST has always been the softer-hearted one. And if you want a hardcore Focus you’ve only got a few months to wait…

What do you think?

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