So, the first 1,000 Miles came and passed. The critical engine break in period has passed and I decided to open the car up a little on my favorite road, the N2 (Angeles Crest Highway) A 100 mile stretch of switch back turns, elevation change from 2,000ft to 8,000ft, the perfect road for this little hot hatch to let loose on.
For the first time now I had the luxury to switch this car from 'Normal' to 'Track' mode. You see the ST has three modes of opperation.
Normal: Throttle input is muted, the turbo comes on slowly, traction control, torque vectoring, and Electronic Stability Control do everything to keep the car as well behaved as they possibly can, and for daily driving the dampened throttle repose is great.
Sport: Traction control is disabled, throttle response is instant and the turbo responds instantly. ESC is still there to watch over you.
Track: Same as sport, but now you ESC is disabled, you and you alone are responsible to keeping the car pointed in the correct direction.
I would like to preface my driving experience. While I am no pro racer, I have had track experience behind the wheel of a B-Spec Miata, Subaru WRX, and SVT Contour (Mondeo ST200), and years of canyon carving with my '66 Sunbeam Alpine, Subaru WRX, and SV-650. While on public roads I do not go much over the speed limit, any monkey can use the throttle, my aim is to enjoy the corners giving up as little speed as possible.
With that out of the way, this ST has left me in a stupor. I am at a loss to properly convey the elation of rowing this vehicle through the gears, entering corners with out so much as a thought of applying any brake pressure. This rolling heresy turns-in with the same level of precision as a proper RWD, the oversteer it produces is gleeful and inviting, but never frightful. As throttle is applied mid corner, boost is instant and the torque delivery does not upset the steering, neutral and precise handling is maintained clean through to the exit of the turn. Never before have I had the pleasure of driving a vehicle that offers this level of compliance, and offer such a rewarding dare I say addicting feeling.
This vehicle entices you to push, further and further towards a seaming unending valley of traction. Rewarding every use of the accelerator with a bounty of torque. This vehicle is a goalpost, I did my research when I was considering a new car and everything I had read about this Focus ST showed it to be an excellent combination of everything I wanted in a new car. I'm going to borrow the words from Randy Pobst
It has weakened my resolve, FWD can be more fun than RWD.