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S3 vs Focus ST - First drive comparison

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by NWMark, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. NWMark
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    NWMark Member

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    Just been to test drive a new Focus ST so thought it only fair to compare it against my current S3 /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Drove an ST2 in orange, with cloth Recaro seats.

    Engine is nice, pulls from really low down the rev range, no even lower down than the S3 like diesel low down, 1500 ish revs. Because of this you notice very little lag at all, lots less than the S3. downside to this you dont get a nice kick in the back, pulls more like a V6 engine, noticablely tails off from about 6000 rpm but even from 4500-5000 you can tell your on your way down the torque curve

    Doesnt feel as fast as a standard S3, although it got to a similar speed as the S3 on a known piece of road. so probably very little in it. Chipped S3 and the ford would stand little chance. Will be interesting to see what tuning options appear for the Focus.

    Good bits,

    Gearchange - really nice, fast, short and direct

    Seats - very similar to the S3 ones, seems to hold you in better although this could be down to newness or the cloth aswell.

    Price - ST3 with metallic paint, and Dual Climate £16,750 (privilege), lot of car for the money

    Handling - for a FWD with that power, i have no idea where the grip comes from but it has it in bucket loads, Got the TC on once and it was nice and progressive rather than a compelte cut in power resulting in kangaroo style progress, round the corners handles really well very little roll, no wallowing on fast long sweeping bends.

    Brakes - Thought they were okay, nice feel, firm enough and stopped well would be interesting to see how they faired after a few hefty stops, as they dont look particularly exciting, standard ford looking caliper, sliding caliper i think, 2 piston tops, looked about 310-320mm in size

    Cruiser - very nice and comfortable when you dont want to boot it, really smooth drive, lots of torque from low down, easy gearbox.

    Dealer - Very helpful, quick no long sales pitch or talk, no hard sell, paperwork done and out for a drive, quick quote, few questions from me and ready to leave /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Bad Bits,

    Clutch - oh my god the clutch is horrendous, no weight or feel behind it all all, feels like it has no spring on it, probably very traffic friendly but **** in any other situation

    Boot - you think the S3 has no boot, lol take a look at the focus ST!! it has flat boot bottom (dont know why as there is a good 8 inches above the exhaust below the floor, left there for a 4WD version??) and plastic tray in it holding spare wheel. although spare wheel is getting the boot in favour of some puncture repair inflator gunk so youll get about 6 more inches in depth.

    Steering wheel - nice textured leather, but way too soft hands sink into it the padding thats thick and soft.

    Alloys - Venoms and Fords went together in the early nineties!! Need nicer wheels added to options list.

    Paint Match - bumpers to bodywork paint match is awful, the orange one had it the worse out of the 3 focus's that where there, the silver one was still very noticable and the panther black was fine. Black and Grey are the only safe colours to go for if you want a good colour match. Orange, Blue and Silver the worse.

    Stereo - didnt like the Gloss Black Sony headunit, didnt seem to fit in with the rest of the dash, although ive never been keen on Sony anyway!!

    Road Noise - lots of road noise from the tyres, drowned out the exhaust at all but the highest of revs, it was a course expressway but still this is easily the noisiest car ive driven along there.

    Got back in my S3 and really do prefer the S3, cant see me swapping it for the Focus!!

    Although that price is very tempting for a stop gap until the new S3 is released.

    Mark
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  2. imported_fingermouse
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    imported_fingermouse Guest

    good review but i`ll stick with the S3 old henry can keep his cars.
    #2
  3. Thanks for the review, I was looking at the ST on the web yesterday.

    Strange that the ST's 2.5 turbo is not as powerful as the VAG 1.8T 225 isn't it?

    I have recently been wondering what I might replace the S3 with, but there's nothing around to tempt me away. (OK there's plenty but all over £30k!)
    #3
  4. NWMark
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    NWMark Member

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    same here monkey, S3 does most things so well, especially when chipped that there is pretty much little to touch it at the price at the moment.

    Im going to test drive an A3 3.2 next week to see if i like that but not sure if ill like the V6 characteristics over the turbo though as i quite like the big turbo kick /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Mark
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  5. Timbo
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    Timbo Slowest car ever round the Top Gear track?!?

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Strange that the ST's 2.5 turbo is not as powerful as the VAG 1.8T 225 isn't it?


    [/ QUOTE ]
    Eh? They've got the same power! Did you mean power per litre?

    The ST's Volvo engine has more torque, as you'd expect since it's bigger.
    #5
  6. [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Strange that the ST's 2.5 turbo is not as powerful as the VAG 1.8T 225 isn't it?


    [/ QUOTE ]
    Eh? They've got the same power! Did you mean power per litre?

    The ST's Volvo engine has more torque, as you'd expect since it's bigger.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yeah I mean one is 2.5T, the other 1.8T, but same power / performance. I know it's not just the size of the engine that counts but I was still surprised.
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  7. Timbo
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    Timbo Slowest car ever round the Top Gear track?!?

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    The 225 1.8T definitely makes a lot of power for it's displacement. The Focus is more average!

    I'd be interested to see what power a chipped one will make.
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  8. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    Nice review, I would have expected the ST to have much more grunt low down with 2.5L and 5 cylinders, also having little or no turbo lag, making the engine more tractable throughout the rev range. There is obviously huge tuning potential for the Volvo lump aswell.
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  9. NWMark
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    NWMark Member

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    I was expecting much more torque from the ST the stats say its 320NM which i think is only marginally more than a standard 225 S3 / TT.

    Mark
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  10. mattyboy199
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    mattyboy199 Active Member

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    personnelly i think wheather its got a decent engine or not its still a ford & its in a completely different catergory to the S3. Imagine if you took out all the gizzmos not found in the focus from your S3 i m sure it would be pretty rapid. The focus is still in my eyes an ugly car although tuning potential may be there its still only a fwd car. You may as well buy a CTR & supercharge or turbo it.
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  11. Timbo
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    Timbo Slowest car ever round the Top Gear track?!?

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    [ QUOTE ]
    personnelly i think wheather its got a decent engine or not its still a ford & its in a completely different catergory to the S3. Imagine if you took out all the gizzmos not found in the focus from your S3 i m sure it would be pretty rapid. The focus is still in my eyes an ugly car although tuning potential may be there its still only a fwd car. You may as well buy a CTR & supercharge or turbo it.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Well Ford or not the list price is £10K-odd less than the S3 was so not really a fair comparison! Fairer to compare it to the old Leon Cupra R or the current Golf GTI I reckon. I must say I think it looks like a good package for the money, although not the greatest looking car in the world, and not even as good looking as the old Focus.

    Turbo-ing or supercharging a CTR isn't really a viable alternative - even if you could buy stock CTR's new now, which you can't. By the time you've had the work done (assuming you started with a nearly new one) you'll have spent over £20K and you'll have ended up with something that may well be not that reliable, will wear out in double-quick time and will have too much power for its chassis. And it's not an option at all if it's a company car!

    Forgot to say earlier - good review NWMark - cheers!
    #11

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