Ford would argue – not unreasonably – that the Ford Focus ST is not quite the same sort of car as a Renault Mégane Cup or Vauxhall Astra VXR.

That it is down a touch on power is not necessarily its point (once you’re at 250bhp, in our book, you’re there or thereabouts). Rather, Ford insists that the ST should be a bit more like a Golf GTI – more everyday usable, in other words.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Great that the 'ESP off' really does mean off

To that end, the ST gets reasonably supple suspension. Certainly, around town, while you’d probably notice that it’s firm, you wouldn’t ever consider it harsh. Yet up the speed and on challenging roads the body stays commendably flat, with excellent body control over crests and bumps.

Look for tenths of degrees of difference here and there and you’d note that a Mégane trades some suppleness for superior control of its body movements.

The Golf is more pliant and linear, but less able to settle immediately over lumps. The Focus, then, is where Ford wants it to be, which is not a bad place at all.

The more controversial aspects of its dynamics centre around its steering and mechanical add-ons, or lack thereof. To our hands, the electrically assisted power steering, which gets, like Porsche’s, a slower rack at the straight-ahead that quickens as you apply lock, lacks some of the analogue feedback of a Golf’s, and instead sends messages that are effective but less rewarding and intuitive.

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It’s quick enough, though, and very accurate. And while the ST goes without a mechanical limited-slip differential or torque steer-reducing RevoKnuckle suspension, in the dry it gets its power down well enough and resists most corruption. The wonder of EPAS is that it’s infinitely tweakable, and we think Ford has got the balance about right. It’s mostly refined, with the odd reminder that you are, after all, driving a 247bhp front-drive car.

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