The Ford Focus ST has always been known for its eye-catching body kits, high performance and road handling. And with the new 2023 Ford Focus ST now on sale, we thought it would be cool to look back on the history of the ST since its release in 1998.
1998: Ford Focus ST170
The Ford Focus ST still feels like a relatively new car, but it first hit showrooms in 1998. It might look a little dated now, but back then, it looked modern. And even though its power wasn’t anything to write home about, it had a great chassis that made it a lovely car to drive.
2005: Mk2 Ford Focus ST
It took seven years for the Mk2 Ford Focus ST to hit the market, but it was well worth waiting for. The Mk2 signalled an increase in the ST’s popularity due to its 225bhp, 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine.
The Mk2 handled even better than the original and soon gained a cult following with car enthusiasts.
2015: Mk3 Ford Focus ST
The Mk3 Ford Focus ST was released a decade after the Mk2, and while it was a good model, it was a slight downgrade on the Mk2. The 225bhp, 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine was replaced with a 246bhp 2.0-litre. On the plus side, it made the Mk3 faster, especially on corners, but when you put your foot down, it lurched all over the road.
And while it was still a popular ST, buyers preferred the Renault Megane RS in terms of drivability.
2019: Mk4 Ford Focus ST
The last model before the 2023 release was the 2019 Mk4 Ford Focus ST. Its engine was replaced again, this time with a detuned version of the 2.3-litre Renault Megane RS engine, giving it a pleasing 276bhp.
And for the first time, it came with driving modes, allowing you to flick between leisurely road driving to aggressive, track and dirt road driving.
In 2019, it was the most exciting ST released to date.
2023: Mk5 Ford Focus ST
The latest ST has built on all that was good about the Mk4, and built on it. The mode selection has increased to include:
The engine is similar to the Mk4, giving you 276bhp and 310lb ft of torque. The interior has leapt into the future, with everything controlled via a touchscreen instead of buttons. And there have been several additions and upgrades, including improved adaptive damping, electronically controlled limited-slip diff, and an electric pump powered brake servo to compensate for fade on tracks and mountain roads.
Oh, and the steering is quicker than any other ST that has come before it.
Twenty-five years since its release and five versions later, the Ford Focus ST is still going strong and looks like it will for many years to come.
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