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Ford Focus ST Mountune (2008) review

Published:24 September 2008

Ford Focus ST Mountune (2008) review
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
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By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker

If you’re bored of your Focus ST’s performance or just can’t wait until next year to get your hands of the 296bhp RS, the new Mountune performance pack for the ST could be exactly what you need.

Who are these Mountune people anyway and what are they doing with the Ford Focus ST?

Mountune is a division of Roush, the people who engineered the Ford GT supercar. They’ve teamed up with Ford to offer a load of tuning packages on various Blue Oval family metal. First to arrive was one for the Fiesta, and now there’s this package for the Focus, but Ford admits that others will follow. The kits aren’t fully homologated – the extra expense would have killed the project – so they have to be fitted post registration.

So what’s involved?

The first, based on the outgoing Fiesta, was a proper old school – big cam, gouged head and big exhaust. Fun but rather uncouth, particularly with the optional sports exhaust. But because the Focus is turbocharged, Mountune has achieved big power with minimal changes to the hardware. There’s a new, larger intercooler, high-flow air filter and a new map for the engine control unit. And that’s your lot. But the results are impressive: power is up from 222bhp to 256bhp and torque from 236lb ft to 259lb ft. Ford says the sprint to 62mph falls by 0.5sec to 5.9sec and 100mph flashes up in 14.1sec, nearly 2sec quicker than before.

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So it’s impressive on paper, but what’s it actually like on the road?

Let’s ignore those impressive standing start stats for a second and talk about in-gear performance. That’s the stuff that really matters, the stuff you actually feel when you’re overtaking or in fact driving anywhere other than from traffic light to traffic light. And the ST Mountune has stacks of it. Fourth, fifth, sixth gear, it doesn’t seem to matter which one you’re in because when you tread the right pedal into the carpet exactly the same thing happens. The Mountune surges forward with the sort of effortless pace that would leave a Civic Type R driver dumbfounded. The ST’s five-pot warble always had something of the V8 about it; now it’s got the performance and character to complete the act.

That means of course that it’s no screamer. So if you like wringing an engine to its redline it might not be for you. But if you already like the character of your ST’s engine then you’ll love this one. And because the Mountune package doesn’t include any chassis modifications the same applies to the handling, at least up to a point. The steering remains sharp and feelsome, the chassis composed. But the extra power kicks the steering out of your hands when you try to use the new muscle. It’s not aggressive like the old Focus RS, and it doesn’t ruin the driving experience, but it is very noticeable. It will be interesting to see how effective the new Revo-knuckle suspension fitted to the forthcoming RS is at taming nearly 300bhp.

Tuners have been offering ST upgrades since the thing came out three years ago. Why should I go for this one?

Maybe because it leaves the stock Ford warranty intact. That fact that Ford felt happy to do that should give a good indication of how much testing and development work was done and how reliable Ford expects the Mountune stuff to be. And unlike some manufacturer packages, this one is actually pretty good value. The hardware costs £1120 and takes around two hours to fit so you could transform your ST’s performance for under £1500. And Ford claims emissions and fuel consumption remain unchanged in normal driving.

Verdict

Great fun, great value and with the security of the factory Ford warranty, the Mountune package is a brilliant way to breathe some life back into your relationship with your ST.

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Specs

Price when new: £19,665
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 2522cc 5-cyl 20V turbo, 256bhp @ 6000rpm, 295lb ft @ 2500-4000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 5.9sec 0-62mph, 150mph, 30.4mpg, 224g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1392kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4357/1839/1497

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  • Ford Focus ST Mountune (2008) review
  • Ford Focus ST Mountune (2008) review
  • Ford Focus ST Mountune (2008) review
  • Ford Focus ST Mountune (2008) review
  • Ford Focus ST Mountune (2008) review

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker

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