LOL @ "Wrong wheel drive"
2013 Ford Focus ST
At first glance, the little Ford might seem like the proverbial knife brought to a gunfight. However, looks are often deceiving. Sure, the ST's 252-hp, turbo-charged 2.0-liter drags down the test's horsepower-per-car average (512 hp per car, so you know), but after five minutes behind the wheel you'll find yourself asking, "So what?" The Ford is also -- by a large margin -- the least expensive car this year. Featuring one of the best front-wheel drive setups the world has ever seen, once it's up to speed the Focus ST has no problem hanging with the big boys. It's also one of two cars in this year's competition to come with a manual transmission, the other being the Ford's fellow American, the Viper. That said, many on staff think the Focus ST sounds better than the Viper.
One the Sound: One, there's a lot of engine noise piped into the passenger compartment, which I think is really good. It's kind of a low growl. It feels and sounds really sporty and it's not there when you're not accelerating hard, and so I like it. On the Power: Significant torque steer. In other words, when I get on the power, the car pulls left and right randomly, which is not unusual for a powerful front drive. Again, it's got a lot of torque and the engine is a mid-range engine. It makes a lot of power from 4000 to 5500. It's not a high-revving engine, so you can minimize your shifts and use that. It actually makes it probably much more flexible for the street. Good feature. 2013 Ford Focus ST Front Three Quarters In Motion On the Suspension: It's got a fair amount of roll and the bumps are like non-existent, because it's soft and it just soaks them right up. So, it doesn't have a real precise feel because it's got a lot of roll and the shock damping is pretty soft. I don't think it's so much the springs being real soft as it is the damping is really soft, which is a little surprising for an ST. On the Brakes: I was not happy with the brakes. I mean, right from the first stop, the car didn't seem to stop terribly well. The tires were making a lot of noise, which, to me, just, historically, if I hear a lot of noise, I think the tire's kind of hard, maybe a little bit low-grip. On the Track: And on the initial laps, the Focus ST has a tremendous rotation, entry rotation, which is what I really loved about it when we tested it at Streets of Willow. Well, by halfway through the second lap, that's gone, and it could be a result of the front brakes getting hot and fading, because we're thinking that there's a brake actuation that helps turn the car.
Read more: 2013 Best Driver's Car Contenders - Part 2 - Motor Trend
LOL @ "Wrong wheel drive"
I think Randy was fair.
His reviews/impressions always seem spot on to me.
He also pointed out the power band which many of us also post about, this is not a high revving engine.
I'd trust his words as they relate to track duty. Randy's honest and has the experience to back up his words.
Also, if we look back to 2012's feature the BRZ posted a 1:51.3.
This time around in 2013 the ST posted a 1:49.3.
The ST is faster, but I think the BRZ has more potential, its only 2 seconds slower despite a 50hp disadvantage and weaker tires. I think with a slight power bump and better tires it would beat the ST's lap.
He nailed it, and it was only 3 seconds slower than the Bentley with 8 ,ore cylinders in its block!
Yea, I expect the Bently to come in last. The ST will probably follow it but considering the price gap and functionality compared to its competitors, beating anything would be a compliment to the Ford.
Randy Pobst has driven a whole lot of cars in his life, and this wasn't his first time driving a "wrong wheel drive" car before; in fact he's won several touring car championships with FWD race cars.
It also isn't his first time driving an ST for various media outlets, and the comments were similar - he likes it a lot but the front brakes suck. I don't need a race track to smoke the front pads, the stock parts are just poorly engineered to do what is asked of them. And Laguna Seca is more friendly to brakes than my local track in Fontana.
The other point about the ST he's made before is that it's under-damped and he's right. Not a big issue on a super smooth track like Fontana, but it is an issue on lumpy roads. My car felt great for 1500 miles but at 4500 miles now, the dampers are pretty much toast.
Basically, his only real gripes about these cars is that they need better damping and better front brakes. He literally destroyed the front brakes in the MT article, and I've smoked mine to the point of serious danger a few times, which is really not cool in a modern performance car.
Unfortunately, solving those issues is crazy expensive so I haven't even bothered to run a track day since I got it because it is designed to disappoint me at my local tracks.
These are not race cars, but their development history is pretty well known for being delayed by Ford global to get it right and they failed. One common issue is being addressed by a TSB, the transaxle mounts, much to Ford's credit. The fix will cost them more than the decision to let it go into production though, which is just classic Ford. The steering issues, for those who have them (I don't), should get the NHTSA's attention fairly soon, so expect a safety recall letter in the mail some time next year.
None of these are assembly issues, which is already a problem with their Michigan factory but easy to fix. They're basic fundamental design issues that the global development division that simply failed to resolve.
Oh well. I had to re-engineer my 2009 MS3 to make it work right, I guess this is just more of the same. Considering the global team who developed the ST variant, which is pretty expensive here and really expensive in Europe, it's kind of sad. None of those people ever tried a standing start on a bumpy surface? None of their test track miles revealed lacking brakes? Really?
Of course they did but couldn't get approval to solve them. And it's not like it sucks, I really like my car, I just think it was let out of the barn a bit too soon. But as I said in another thread, that could have been intentional - planned obsolescence; give the buyer a reason to trade it in for the upgraded model in a few years.
So what is the damping fix and is it expensive? This is the cheapest that Tire Rack has to offer: H&R Street-Perf. Coil-Over (Premium, Performance Street)
Front and Rear Fitment
Ride Height: Moderate Lowering
Note: Avg low 1.2"-2.5"F and
1.0"-2.3"R. Wheel offset critical; Spacers may be required when the standard wheel/tire combination is used. Price: $1,340.00 (kit)
Estimated Availability: Fewer than 2, Special Order Available
Manufacturer Part #: 51661
Last edited by CurlyQHoward; 09-03-2013 at 01:04 PM.
Ya, that H&R kit is one of two possible solutions, the KW Mk111 kit being the adjustable and more expensive solution.
The problem is that both of them lower the car at their highest setting and I don't want to do that. It's also lots of money that I'd rather spend on the brakes.
All I really want is an ST-specific strut and damper kit from either Bilstein or Koni. Their solutions for the regular Focus won't work (people have tried) because the rear damper mount different, and they aren't properly matched to the spring rates anyway. Koni said they're working on it, Bilstein I don't know.