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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was excited to be able to drive a friends 2016 ST today, a car I have considered purchasing. I have even gone to the dealer to measure to see if my long 58" keyboard would fit in the back, and yes it would. I have always been a motorcyclist, because cars frankly had bored me from 1980 - 2000. But in the last 10-20 years cars have become more exciting. He drove me around the block with some FWY and streets at a pretty mild clip and I was like ho hum.... Then I drove him around the block in my 2017 GT350, and he was blown away, as I always am with that car. But frankly the GT350 is too much fanfare for everyday driving, this is where the Focus ST seems like a better fit for spirited everyday driving. Later in the evening I asked if I could drive it. I took it around a nice loop that I know. The turbo lag was insignificant. The engine was very smooth and revved effortlessly. The torque pulled nicely, even in 6th gear. The turn in and grip was very good as well. But it seems like the car has been sanitized to appeal to the masses, not the enthusiast. My statement to him was that the car would benefit from an exhaust. Or something to give the car a little more edge.

I have looked at the Focus ST and thought how fun it would be to tweak this , or improve that. But then after I dump 10k into an ST shouldn't I just be looking at an RS? While I had seen myself buying this car, and or recommending it for my daughter that may need to upgrade, I see it now more like a car for my daughter.

Obviously, there is a huge enthusiast following for the car, otherwise there wouldn't be this forum. But the car, stock didn't feel like it had the edge that an enthusiast car should have. Being a new owner of a Shelby GT350, and being very impressed with Ford as really trying hard to cater to the enthusiast, I guess I was expecting more.

Is there something I am missing, or is the Focus ST, just a good starting platform, upon which you need to give the car a little more edge? Or maybe the Shelby is so raucous, that everything seems tame in comparison?

Do you wish your Focus ST had more edge, or have you all made tweaks to give it more personality or bite? Or is it just right, out of the box in your opinion?
 

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You're going to see a lot of people saying it's just right. For me as a fun commuter car, the ST is perfect. It's comfortable to do the daily slog, but all you have to do is floor it and it becomes a different animal. If all you think it needs is an exhaust to be a perfect car, I'd say that's pretty damn good for Ford.
 

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Getting out of a GT350 and into an ST, yes, the car will seem tame. Getting out of a Prius and into an ST will give the opposite effect. It is a good all around car, but not an out of the box racer.
 
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I think you expected too much from the ST because of the Shelby. I haven't driven one, but the ST has absolutely no business being compared to a Shelby. You're comparing 500+hp V8 RWD iconic American muscle to a turbo 4 cyl hot hatch with 275btq and 250bhp, yeah everything else is tame in comparison haha

The "true" enthusiast model is the RS, just look at the 2018 RS limited edition release video, that's the one they really care about, notice how there wasn't an ST in that announcement. The ST is treated as the V6 or ecoboost Mustang and the RS is the GT. Yeah, there's some carryover and it's still enthusiast oriented, but it's more to appease lower budgets. The ST is meant to compete with the WRX and GTI. While all 3 are fun, they're still meant to be commuter cars as well. And although this is an enthusiast car, especially being only offered in a manual, I wouldn't say they tried really hard as you said. The rear motor mount has been upgraded through the years, but still garbage, they tried with the tires by offering summers, but they're trash too, no LSD, and the shifter assembly kind of sucks too. It sounds like you're the kind of guy that would get very angry over those things after buying this car and learning more about it. Regarding dumping 10k into this car, you can do a big turbo with a huge intercooler and auxiliary fuel system and custom tunes, but you'll still be FWD. I'm not sure what kind of numbers big turbo people boast, I'm still new myself, but the stock turbo with full bolt ons and off the shelf tunes from reputable tuners get like 375wtq and 290whp I think. During what I've seen in the time I've been here, I think a lot of people will agree with what I said. You may have a follow up question as to why none of us have an RS if we all have complaints about the ST, and that would be a great question. The overwhelming majority will say an extra 100hp and tq was not worth 10k for us because most of use this as a daily commuter. Yeah we like to have fun and give it the beans on back roads and do entrance ramp and red light pulls, but the bulk of our driving is below 3.5k rpm. There's also people that have had problems with the RS. I don't know frequency or amount, but I have read that there are problems with the AWD system and losing motors, more frequently than with the ST anyway.

Personally, this is the fastest car I've owned and the only turbo car as well. After a month and a half, I still love it. I do want more out of it, but in time. I want to work on my shifting with this car more and know the gears like the back of my hand before I do any tunes. If I never get a tune for it for unforeseen financial reasons down the road, I'd be content with the car as is. Most people on here have modified their car. Most people have an intake, exhaust and at least a stage 1 tune to get an idea.

It probably wouldn't work for you size wise, but maybe you're daughter would like it, the Fiesta ST. It's considered to be the most "fun per dollar" and can be compared to mini and fiat for example. Not sure what her tastes are, but it's something to consider as well.
 

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Tune it, throw a big intercooler on there, and maybe a nice downpipe or catback (catback is for sound ONLY, no performance gain) and then drive it again. You'll start feeling the "edge" of the car way more. It's a whole new fun beast after you bump it up to where it shines. The 3 things I just mentioned are good for ~50whp and somewhere in the ballpark of ~100 (yes...ONE HUNDRED) ft/lb torque more than stock.
 

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But it seems like the car has been sanitized to appeal to the masses, not the enthusiast. My statement to him was that the car would benefit from an exhaust. Or something to give the car a little more edge.
It's been sanitized to be a fun, economical every day car and they nailed it IMO. Sure it would be nice to have a little more exhaust sound, and the sound symposer was their attempt at keeping the car super quiet for normal driving and giving it some growl during hard acceleration. Of course it's going to seem tame when compared to a purpose-built muscle car with twice the horsepower, it would be silly to assume otherwise.

If I could have gotten away with a 2 door sports car, I would have taken a hard look at a Mustang GT. But I need four doors and the hatch, which reduced the market significantly. 4 years later I'm still happy with my ST and would probably make the same choice today.
 

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I was excited to be able to drive a friends 2016 ST today, a car I have considered purchasing. I have even gone to the dealer to measure to see if my long 58" keyboard would fit in the back, and yes it would. I have always been a motorcyclist, because cars frankly had bored me from 1980 - 2000. But in the last 10-20 years cars have become more exciting. He drove me around the block with some FWY and streets at a pretty mild clip and I was like ho hum.... Then I drove him around the block in my 2017 GT350, and he was blown away, as I always am with that car. But frankly the GT350 is too much fanfare for everyday driving, this is where the Focus ST seems like a better fit for spirited everyday driving. Later in the evening I asked if I could drive it. I took it around a nice loop that I know. The turbo lag was insignificant. The engine was very smooth and revved effortlessly. The torque pulled nicely, even in 6th gear. The turn in and grip was very good as well. But it seems like the car has been sanitized to appeal to the masses, not the enthusiast. My statement to him was that the car would benefit from an exhaust. Or something to give the car a little more edge.

I have looked at the Focus ST and thought how fun it would be to tweak this , or improve that. But then after I dump 10k into an ST shouldn't I just be looking at an RS? While I had seen myself buying this car, and or recommending it for my daughter that may need to upgrade, I see it now more like a car for my daughter.

Obviously, there is a huge enthusiast following for the car, otherwise there wouldn't be this forum. But the car, stock didn't feel like it had the edge that an enthusiast car should have. Being a new owner of a Shelby GT350, and being very impressed with Ford as really trying hard to cater to the enthusiast, I guess I was expecting more.

Is there something I am missing, or is the Focus ST, just a good starting platform, upon which you need to give the car a little more edge? Or maybe the Shelby is so raucous, that everything seems tame in comparison?

Do you wish your Focus ST had more edge, or have you all made tweaks to give it more personality or bite? Or is it just right, out of the box in your opinion?
Big Turbo kit 2100$
Accessport 400$
Used Intercooler 300$
Used Turbo-back Exhaust 600$
AEM Meth Kit 400$
Used Intake 100 $
Freektune Dyno tune 450$
Price of car 25k
The total spent on my car personally is 29,xxx. I've never had a car quicker than my ST so my opinion may be a bit skewed.. But, if you pick up everything minus the meth kit and turbo kit used, you can have your self a very capable car with some nice punch for less than 30k.

There will always be something faster and more capable. It is all about what compromises you wanna take.
I tend to ride my motorcycle more in the summer months here in New England as the thrill is that much more on the bike. But even after a day of slamming around on two wheels, the ST still reminds me shes got some oomph too.

Screen Electronics Text Technology Electronic device
 

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I also came from motorcycles and have to say that I have yet to drive a car that gave me a thrill like a one liter Yamaha four screaming toward redline or diving into a corner at the Gap and getting it just right. The exposure, pure speed, and visceral sounds just aren't there in any production car I've driven (I haven't driven a Z06 yet though). I think what this car gives me is the precision and technicality that motorcycles made me search for. Always looking to get the best line; can I get on the throttle sooner? Could I turn earlier? Learning to change a line in a fwd rather than rwd car, etc. Where's the limit to my grip and can I find it slowly rather than dramatically? The other thing is mods. Wanna change spring rates? Want to try new combos of tires? The mod bug has bitten me and I'm still very early in owning the car.

I left motorcycles after my daughter was born because I couldn't get out of my head with it. This car has brought back the joy of pursuing technical proficiency while at the same time having enough power to keep things fun. Right now it's just right for a commuting and fun car but I'm not looking to push it to the ragged edge...yet.
 

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last year mustang came to EU, and i make a test drive. ok, not proper mustang 2.3L but still. i had to try it. i know it is light year apart from GT350, but.
that was HUGE disappointment. i would never ever change it for my stock ST.

and i think is no point of comparing 25K car to 60k car.
 
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You answered your own question when you said this: "Or maybe the Shelby is so raucous, that everything seems tame in comparison?"
Over the years in comparison tests with the VW GTI and others the ST is always considered a little rough around the edges and the bad boy of the comparison cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Getting out of a GT350 and into an ST, yes, the car will seem tame. Getting out of a Prius and into an ST will give the opposite effect. It is a good all around car, but not an out of the box racer.
Thanks for all of the responses. I think the above quote sums up the issue. It all depends what the car is being compared to. Which means that I should probably test drive more cars. The ST might be the right car, but maybe after some mods.
 

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I get my jollies riding a bike these days. My ST has a few upgrades, but gone are the days of doing turbo swaps and dumping tons of money into my daily. With a few bolt ons and a tune, the ST performs great in the day to day, IMHO.

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I will say this - I enjoyed the car from the showroom - but with a tune/intercooler/downpipe and maybe catback it really wakes the car up...and don't have a ton tied up in it. If you really wanted to do a budget stage 3 - you probably could (with a couple used parts) got 1500. I paid $300 for a used AP, roughly $75 for a tune, 3" catless, stainless turbo back was under $900 and a levels FMIC at $500. I went SS GReddy exhaust, but you can get that a lot cheaper.
 

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last year mustang came to EU, and i make a test drive. ok, not proper mustang 2.3L but still. i had to try it. i know it is light year apart from GT350, but.
that was HUGE disappointment. i would never ever change it for my stock ST.

and i think is no point of comparing 25K car to 60k car.
Thats exactly it. My last commuter car was a fully loaded 2015 mercedes c300. msrp about 58k,its not fair to compare something like that to
The focus, which is a 20k car. For what its priced at you get a great bang for the buck in fun. FWIW, Im enjoying my 20k focus more than my old benzo. Too much techno gadgetry going on in that car.
 

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If you're looking for something a little more raw and unrefined try out the FiST. I've owned both and love both but the FiST is less refined and more of a "pure" automotive experience. As you stated though, nothing is going to come close the your GT 350.
 

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Love driving my 2013 ST daily. Easy to drive, but can get exciting when you push it. Car and Driver called it "Immature and a Bad Decision Machine," and that did it for me. Agree not the same class of car, but I was in my dealer the other day and they had a GT350 for just over twice the sticker price of my ST. Even more power and speed I can't use and it didn't have heated Recaro seats. I'll keep my St and my money.
 

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I was excited to be able to drive a friends 2016 ST today, a car I have considered purchasing. I have even gone to the dealer to measure to see if my long 58" keyboard would fit in the back, and yes it would. I have always been a motorcyclist, because cars frankly had bored me from 1980 - 2000. But in the last 10-20 years cars have become more exciting. He drove me around the block with some FWY and streets at a pretty mild clip and I was like ho hum.... Then I drove him around the block in my 2017 GT350, and he was blown away, as I always am with that car. But frankly the GT350 is too much fanfare for everyday driving, this is where the Focus ST seems like a better fit for spirited everyday driving. Later in the evening I asked if I could drive it. I took it around a nice loop that I know. The turbo lag was insignificant. The engine was very smooth and revved effortlessly. The torque pulled nicely, even in 6th gear. The turn in and grip was very good as well. But it seems like the car has been sanitized to appeal to the masses, not the enthusiast. My statement to him was that the car would benefit from an exhaust. Or something to give the car a little more edge.

I have looked at the Focus ST and thought how fun it would be to tweak this , or improve that. But then after I dump 10k into an ST shouldn't I just be looking at an RS? While I had seen myself buying this car, and or recommending it for my daughter that may need to upgrade, I see it now more like a car for my daughter.

Obviously, there is a huge enthusiast following for the car, otherwise there wouldn't be this forum. But the car, stock didn't feel like it had the edge that an enthusiast car should have. Being a new owner of a Shelby GT350, and being very impressed with Ford as really trying hard to cater to the enthusiast, I guess I was expecting more.

Is there something I am missing, or is the Focus ST, just a good starting platform, upon which you need to give the car a little more edge? Or maybe the Shelby is so raucous, that everything seems tame in comparison?
I'm not totally buying this post. Torque steer in 6th gear? Is that possible? Also how fast were you going in 6th? You sure you just aren't here to for bragging rights and slip in the occasional jab at the St? Maybe I misread you.
 

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We bought ours for the curves, for the low end torque. To be able to haul more then JUST two people with a useless back seat. I challenge any one to bring their GT 500 and try to stay with me carving canyons. I see GT 500 all the time among all the other mustang models they make but I see few Fost even after 3 1/2 years. Not knocking mustangs but I'm more a fan of the real stangs, the 60s and up. Maybe even a fox body with a bad ass 5.0 IMO?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm not totally buying this post. Torque steer in 6th gear? Is that possible? Also how fast were you going in 6th? You sure you just aren't here to for bragging rights and slip in the occasional jab at the St? Maybe I misread you.
Yes you did misread me. I said the Torque Pulled Nicely in 6th gear. Meaning that there was plenty of power down low in the rev range at cruising speed. I think you misread torque pulled to mean torque steer. Not knocking the car at all, mostly just commenting on the feel of the car, based upon my limited experience and expectation with Ford Performance products.
 

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Yes you did misread me. I said the Torque Pulled Nicely in 6th gear. Meaning that there was plenty of power down low in the rev range at cruising speed. I think you misread torque pulled to mean torque steer. Not knocking the car at all, mostly just commenting on the feel of the car, based upon my limited experience and expectation with Ford Performance products.
Well, yeah...Ford Performance products vary quite a bit based on entry price from a 20k FiST to a 400k Ford GT. Try driving a Ford GT and your 350 will seem as refined as a Cadillac compared to that car lol.

It's all relative but your driving impressions are duly noted. I think many of us enjoy the DD ability of the ST in that it can calmly inch in bumper to bumper traffic but also spring to life to tackle an on ramp or back road.
 
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