independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

It goes like a scream – even if the paint's a little off colour

The colour of this Focus ST was Tangerine Scream. The performance could be called the same. And I certainly contributed to the symphony (cacophony?) with one or two yelps of my own as the old back – yet again – defied all reasonable medical attempts to subdue its pain.

What a way to spend a week's holidays.

But not even the lumbar agony could take away from the sheer zzzzzaaappp of this 250bhp powerhouse hatch with its outrageous ability, extraordinary grip and road-rally suspension.

I had to be exceptionally careful with this. It would get you a lifetime's worth of penalty points on the journey to the supermarket if you weren't careful.

But isn't life full of irony?

I got done when it was standing totally still.

Yes, while I and a true old friend had tea and a fruit scone in one of suburbia's more salubrious bistro's, the traffic warden was busy slapping a €40 ticket on my Tangerine Scream.

Enough to make you . . . well, scream.

But here's a thing. This didn't feel that mad fast from a standing start. I mean 0-100kmh in 6.5 seconds is zippy, but not spine-jarring like you get in a Porsche or a hyper-steroid Jag.

No, the real zap in this came from the drive, from the pick-up in fourth or fifth, from the rapacious capacity to just go like the clappers on a straight stretch of road.

Despite the old back, I managed a whizzy, dizzy sample of its grip, cornering and handling down Wicklow way. Oh yes, this was the real deal.

By the way, this is the first global performance car from Ford. It has been developed by the RS team in Europe and the Special Vehicles Team (SVT) in the US.

Because this was the second Ford I'd had in succession I was more familiar with SYNC.

This allows you to connect mobile phones and music players by Bluetooth or USB. You can also make hands-free calls as well as controlling music and other things. It did what I told it (most of the time). It is standard on the ST2.

The seats are big, with flanges along the side and there was plenty of room at the back. That is the great thing about this: it is a race car and a family motor.

The far-from-great thing about it is the price. Mercy, it's a mouthful at €37,000-plus. I don't know of too many who'd part with that sort of money – you can have a huge selection of seriously good cars for such a princely sum these days.

But I am sure there are a few real enthusiasts who will want to have this particular car. Not too many, but a few.

And, you know if you are that way inclined, as soon as you get over the initial price, the running costs are not outrageous.

I mean the road tax is hardly going to break you. And if you avoid vigilant parking wardens and stay within speed limits, then go enjoy it.

I must say I would not buy one in Yellow Screamer mode even if I had the inclination. It is a shocking colour and is far too obvious in proclaiming its prowess and drawing attention from possibly dubious quarters.

Give me a nice silver one and let me get on with enjoying what is a great piece of work.

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