Ford Focus ST Mountune review

5 Aug, 2013 9:30am Tom Phillips

Official tuning partner adds power to rapid estate

Verdict

4
Fast Ford fans tend to buy the highest-spec model they can, and adding the Mountune kit to your Focus ST seems like a no-brainer, as your warranty isn’t affected. However, we’d recommend trying out the standard car first, then adding the kit later if you feel you really need extra power, as it does make the ST a bit more of a handful to drive.

We’re looking forward to the new right-hand-drive Ford Mustang, which has been confirmed to go on sale in the UK. But the addition of this performance icon to Ford’s line-up means a new Focus RS is less likely to happen.

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However, fast Ford fans can get a cut-price Focus RS right now thanks to a Mountune power kit, which edges the 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine’s output closer to that of the old Focus RS’ five-cylinder.

It increases power from 247bhp to 271bhp (and torque from 360Nm to 400Nm) thanks to a new, larger intercooler that sits in front of the radiator, as well as a cast alloy air inlet duct that’s fitted on top of the car’s engine. There’s also an uprated, freer-flowing K&N air filter and the ECU has been remapped to make the best of the changes.

It costs an extra £1,275 if you choose a black finish for the intercooler and air duct, or £1,225 for silver. And while the only exterior change to the ST is a small Mountune badge on the bootlid, you immediately notice the extra low-down response.

Where the standard ST takes a little encouragement to get up and go, the Mountune kit has sharpened the car up noticeably. Although maximum torque is up by 40Nm, there’s actually around 90Nm extra on tap at lower revs, helping you build speed quickly.

In the wet, the Mountune has no trouble whatsoever getting the traction control to kick in – even at slow speed pulling away from a tight junction. So you need to be gentle with the throttle until you’ve built up some momentum. On dry roads, all that power through the front tyres means torque steer is unavoidable, and the ST’s weighty steering wheel wriggles around in your hands. It’s only a problem when you’re accelerating hard, but it’s quite significant, as the extra size of the Focus estate means torque steer causes the car to snake around quite dramatically as its front wheels hunt around for the line of least resistance.

Once you’re up to speed, the ST is as composed as ever, with an effortless directness to its steering. The suspension set-up is impressive, too: keeping the body flat, stable and in check over lumps and bumps, while still giving a comfortable ride.

Although throttle response has changed, the clutch is still heavy and the brakes are very strong. Apart from the extra power, the only change to the ST involves engine noise. The standard car has a pretty decent exhaust note, helped by a sound symposer that amplifies noise. But that’s now overscored by a vocal rushing of air through the filter and duct, plus a whoosh as the wastegate opens when you lift the throttle.

Mountune’s upgrade doesn’t affect the Focus ST’s three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, and can be fitted in 90 minutes by any Mountune-approved Ford dealer. And if you get your insurance through Mountune’s partner, Greenlight, it won’t affect your policy, either.

Disqus - noscript

I'm surprised that this more powerful version of the Focus ST loses an Autoexpress star.

Perhaps the tester found the torque steer a handful. Wonder what he thinks of Mazda 3 MPS?

Auto Express please note two points. Firstly not all Ford dealers can or are able to fit and it lots of cases want to fit. The Mountune price does not include dealer labour either. Secondly Ford have not plan to launch a EU designed/spec Mustang in 2014. The Mustang was mentioned by Ford's CEO in a EU conference back in 2012 as 'on the cards' for Europe in March it was suspended by Ford and there have only been some circumstantial mutterings from Ford about 2015/2016 if its economically feasilble.
Brand Manager. Dealer Group

Overpriced pile of blue oval fish-faced crap.

Someone works for Ford!! lol ;)

There is no consistency to the way they mark cars. They do all the breakdowns, all the sections marks then just pick a random rating out of this air. On one article they describe the bland and uninspiring styling of a car, they then give it 4 stars! How on earth does that work?!

Could be worse, could have an overpriced, unreliable, under spec'ed VW badge on it.

Something compelling about fast estates, definitely. I'd like one of these or a 3 Touring M Sport.

Would rather pay a bit more, than have to live with something thats a inferior second rate rubbish Focus, and get a proper performance car that can handle power like the Aussie Vauxhall VXR8 than buy this under powered German made Focus garbage.

Does anyone know the insurance situation with kit like this? Are all the normal insurers going to say go away or is a kit like this no big deal?

I guess since its Ford fitted it would be no big problem. I bet you don't even have to tell them because it is standard to the car even if not over other fords.

Was going well until you listed your other car, one that costs over twice as much. Not really comparable eh. If I had £50k like the V8 costs i'd be ordering an Alfa 4C for a real drivers car anyway.

Yeah! I'd love an Alfa 156 GTA Estate over the standard car, think its something with that size car but the estates always look fantastic!

Not really sure on Ford's thinking here. Make a fast but torque steery car even faster and MORE torque steery??? Without addressing the problem first??? I don't get it. The only way to get round the torque steer is, apparently, not to boot it until you get going a bit..ha ha... I'm sorry but that just throws all 0-60 times out the window. Stick in 4 wheel drive, then give us Mountune! That'll make up for the extra weight and we can actually USE the power. Simples!

Key specs

  • Price: £27,870
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl petrol
  • Power: 271bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62/top spd: 6.0 secs/154mph
  • Econ/CO2: 39.2mpg/169g/km
  • Equipment: 18-inch alloys, Mountune intercooler, air duct and filter, ECU upgrade
  • On sale: Now
AEX 1334
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