Ford get their racing mojo back with blistering Focus
I'VE just been Tangoed, slapped right between the eyes by a bald beast and I could not be happier.
For a week I went around dazed and confused by the sheer audacity of the Ford Focus ST, a tangerine dream straight from a Ford fantasy.
The car I'm driving is luminous orange and sounds like an atomic explosion when advancing in a forward position -- the slightest tickle of the accelerator is enough to shock and awe anyone within earshot.
Even in neutral there is snarl from the glorious ST engine which bangs out more wattage than a small African state.
But then the Ford Focus ST is hothatch driving at its loudest, most garish, an unsubtle mixture of power, colour and noise.
And I couldn't be happier -- give me a GTi, OPC or an ST ahead of any of your boring family saloons, I am the 41-year-old teenager when it comes to hot hatches.
The ST has been developed by Ford's RS team in Europe and the company's Special Vehicles Team in the US and they have come up with a car of true performance which follows in the best traditions of the ST and RS experiences of the past.
There is a two litre engine which is assisted by a turbo-charged four cylinder EcoBoost engine which bangs out more than 250 bhps.
Now the cynic in me wondered as I drove it away from Ford just how the word Eco could be put with a car like the Focus ST, surely I would have to stick a nozzle in her at least once in the week ahead.
Well, and somewhat bizarrely there was just enough fuel capability onboard to get me around all week, in which I did around 500 clicks.
In more techno terms this car is capable of returning a fuel efficiency performance of 7.2L/100Km and CO2 emissions of 169g/km -- 20pc better than its predecessor.
There are plenty of goodies onboard and standard specification in the new Focus ST includes Ford Power keyless start, sporty Recaro seats, Bluetooth and 18" alloy wheels.
The car is available in two specs: ST and ST2 which gets half leather bucket seats and dual-zone climate control.
Apparently Focus ST2 features Ford's acclaimed SYNC system as standard, which I couldn't quite figure out.
I am told that when you do eventually master SYNC, you have is an advanced voice control, device integration and connectivity interface, which enables users to connect mobile phones and music players by Bluetooth or USB, make hands-free telephone calls and control music and other functions using voice commands.
On a lighter note, the new Focus ST also has movie critics all in a tizzy after its big screen debut a couple of months ago.
A racy black version took the starring role in the all-action movie adaptation of the classic 70's British police series, The Sweeney, with Ray Winstone and "Plan B" Ben Drew playing Regan and Carter.
What better way to showcase a geezer's motor than burning up the streets of London.
Like the old days the ST is in hot pursuit of the blagger's favourite - a Jag XJ but without the brilliant theme tune. You'll just have to hum it yourself.
The Focus ST starts at €36,800, the ST2 is €39,100.