Ford had a chance to tweak and up the power and performance of the new Focus ST when it debuted as the latest generation, but it chose not to, sticking with the same 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Largely, it didn’t play with those figures because it didn’t need to. Its closest competition, the Volkswagen GTI, sports 210 horses, so the Focus ST has long held the edge there.
Wisely, Ford figured that there was a subsection of performance enthusiasts out there who figure that 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet just isn’t enough. So it made a special performance kit for its hot hatch, which now brings 275 horsepower and 296 pound-feet. All routed through the front wheels.
Importantly, the kit — developed by Ford Performance — maintains the base car’s factory-backed three-year/36,000-mile warranty, as long as the parts installation and tuning is performed by an authorized Ford Performance technician. The mountune package costs $1,900 on top of the price of the car itself.
Ford was able to squeeze the extra 23 horsepower and 26 pound-feet by using a performance ECU that’s been remapped, also helping improve throttle response and maintain its emissions credentials to ensure that the Focus ST will still be legal in all 50 states.
The setup also includes the mountune induction kit, a high-flow intercooler, an mTune handset, and all the necessary hardware needed for installation. Ford adds that and “air filter end cap can be added to the mountune high-flow air filter to control sound and provide air filter protection in harsh weather conditions.”
“The 2015 Focus ST MP275 upgrade is the latest addition to Ford Performance’s vast Focus and Fiesta performance catalog that gives enthusiasts the components they need to take their car to the next level,” Adam Gair, the product manager for Ford Performance said in a statement.
This is all well and good, but it raises a couple of questions. If people can now get nearly 300 horsepower from a factory-ordained kit for the Focus ST, it lessens the incentive to splurge on the 345 horsepower Focus RS. You get four-wheel drive on the latter, but at a cost of at least $35,000 (minimum) for the privilege. A stock ST starts at under $25,000, so let’s call it $27,000 for the ST with the tuning kit. At least the Volkswagen GTI is handily separated from its mental older brother, the Golf R, which packs 292 horsepower out of the factory.
There’s also the issue of torque-steer. Since the Focus ST is exclusively front-wheel drive, one can only drive so much power through the front wheels before it begins to greatly affect its handling under acceleration. The latest test of this phenomena is the Honda Civic Type-R, which we should be getting in the next year or so, which also routes about 300 horsepower through the front. It could end up being a non-issue, but we won’t know for sure until we get our hands on one.