For a few euro more: you can drive a Ford ST 'Lite'
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
If that's the case, then Ford are dripping with the stuff because they are effectively embarking on a 'performance lite' string of new model versions.
They are calling them ST-Line, a cohort of beefed-up and spruced-up models designed to appeal to those with a few euro in hand to spend on 'special' editions but without the many, many euro extra needed to buy the real thing.
So what Ford have done is push up the spec and power on a number of models - to what they call ST-Line.
I'm not convinced about why and how there are that many looking for this higher level of spec and drive.
But Ford have obviously felt the feedback, judging by the number of new ST-Line models they have lined up.
Depending on your viewpoint, you can regard the €25,920 start price of the Focus 5dr 1.5 TDCi 120PS (98g/km), for example, as being a lot for a 'family' hatch or a good deal because of the extra power/spec. One way or another, they expect that model to be a big seller.
In all, they have rolled out four model ranges with the new ST-Line spec: the Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and Kuga.
Obviously ST-Line is a lot different from the spine-tingling ST performance cars. The cynics might say they're just dressed-up showboaters but buyers, I presume, will accept all that if they get a bit of the downstream buzz from the styling and dynamics their more illustrious Ford Performance stable mates provide.
They can point to the ST-Line giving them sport suspension, special body kits, special alloy designs, sport seats, etc.
It might be a pale shadow of the sort of sporty drive and dynamism you get in the likes of the Focus RS, Fiesta ST200 and Ford GT supercar - but it's a start. An appetiser maybe?
Ford say the new models come only with the higher-power engine variations - so there should be a tangible sense of driving something with a bit more bite and handling.
For instance, in the Fiesta versions you get the 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol with either 100PS or 125PS. Among the engines in the Focus ST-Line are the 1.5-litre 120PS, 1.5 litre TDCi or the 150PS 2.0 litre. And you get the 2.0-litre TDCi (up to 180PS) in the Kuga.
So what will a typical Fiesta ST-Line cost? Well, the 5-door 1.0 litre EcoBoost 100PS, 99g/km will start from €21,350.
Among the Focus options is a 5-door 1.0 litre EcoBoost 125PS, 108g/km (from €24,875).
There's a 5-door 1.5 TDCi 120PS 98g/km from €25,920 and a 5-door 2.0 TDCi 150PS 105g/km from €27,370.
In among the Mondeo lineup are a 5-door 2.0 TDCi 150PS 112g/km from €34,295 and a 5-door 2.0 TDCi 180PS 117g/km from €36,845.
There is a Mondeo estate version too. One of the models is a 2.0 TDCi 150PS, 119g/km which starts from €35,495.
The Kuga line-up includes a 5-door 1.5 litre EcoBoost 150PS, 143g/km from €40,500; a 5-door 1.5 litre TDCi 120PS, 115g/km from €36,145 and a 5-door 2.0 litre TDCi 150PS 122g/km from €38,725.