Is a Focus ST the Perfect Compromise? - 2015 Ford Mustang GT Long-Term Road Test

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2015 Ford Mustang GT: Is a Focus ST the Perfect Compromise?

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on September 15, 2015

2015 Ford Focus

Our long-term 2015 Ford Mustang GT is a good car if you want some American muscle with two doors. It's a good car if you don't have adult-sized children or you don't need to carry a lot of stuff on a regular basis. It's an especially good car if you've got $45,000 to spend and you like the color orange.

But if you've got a little bit less money and you need more space for activities, you might wander around on the Ford lot and find one of these: A Ford Focus ST. Specifically, this Mountune-modified Focus ST.

A modified version of the standard Focus ST, we had this this black-with-red-stripes hatchback in for testing recently and I couldn't help but compare it to our long-term Mustang GT. Basically, it's a Focus ST with a series of performance parts that let you keep the Ford factory warranty.

Modifications include a cat-back exhaust ($995), lowering springs ($299), front strut tower brace ($215), Quaife torque-biasing differential and install kit ($999 and $175), a short-throw shifter ($449), Mountune "Ultra High Performance High flow induction hose" ($69) and the Mountune MP275 Performance Upgrade ($1,900).

How does this Mountune version of the Focus ST look when you stack it up against our long-term Ford Mustang GT with its Performance pack? And how much money does it take to bridge the gap between the standard Focus ST and the Mustang?

Here's how the numbers break down.

  2015 Mustang GT 2015 Mountune Focus 2015 Focus ST

0-60 (sec)

4.8 6.1 6.4

0-60 w/rollout (sec)

4.5 5.8 6.1

1/4-mile (sec @ mph)

13.0 @ 111.4 14.4 @ 97.38 14.6 @ 96.1

60-0 Braking (ft)

108 109 109

Skidpad (g)

0.94 0.97 0.92

Weight (lbs)

3796 3258 3247

Horsepower

435 270 252

Price as Tested

$45,490 $35,171* $30,070

*The price listed for the Mountune Focus ST is based on the MSRP of the standard Focus ST we tested. Edmunds TMV is around $28,900.

At first glance, the performance gap between standard ST and its modified step-brother might not seem that far apart. But when you look closer, there's one big difference. Both Focus ST's were riding on Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, but the Mountune Focus gained 0.05g on the skidpad. That's a lot. The Quaife differential has a lot to do with it.

Here are some of Road Test Editor Carlos Lago's comments from the track test: "The ST remains the best-balanced front-drive car on the market. The new Quaife differential helps the front axle dig around corners, while the rear end maintains its playful neutrality. You can throw the Focus around with reckless abandon, use the steering to correct the slides of ever-increasing lunacy, and power out more cleanly than before. In a steady-state skidpad, you can stand right on the limits and stay there, modulating the chassis with all the inputs at your disposal. This is a hugely fun car."

2015 Ford Focus

So I'd definitely put the diff on my must-have list. I like the exhaust, so I'd probably shell out the cash for that too. It makes twisty b-roads exponentially more fun and adds to an already-great package. I might leave the other upgrades on the shelf, though.

Even with the 18 additional horsepower, the Focus ST is still significantly slower than the Mustang (no surprise there, really), so I'd use that money towards new (lighter) wheels and tires. Even considering those changes, the Mountune Focus ST seems like a great compromise to me.

You get to keep your factory warranty, increase your fun-factor, and your friends won't complain nearly as much as they would in the back seat of a Mustang. And there's the small matter of the 10 grand you've saved.

Travis Langness, Social Media Editor

 

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