With that new nose and general tightening up, the Focus has drastically improved its chances of attracting buyers focused on looks. Where the Golf GTI goes for a subtly fancier plain wrapper, the ST’s gaping mesh grille, 19-inch alloy wheels and wilder colour options - Tangerine Scream orange being perhaps the most retina threatening – sell its performance credentials without ambiguity.
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Compared to previous ST generations, the current car has a convincingly lower, broader-shouldered stance with a more obviously sculpted bonnet and sleeker, slimmer headlamps. Other sporty touches include twin-hexagonal centre tailpipes, black lamp bezels, no shortage of ST badging and, if you option the, a set of rather handsome 19-inch ST Design alloy wheels. If pulsatingly orange paintwork is just too much, there’s a dark grey exterior paint colour called Stealth exclusive to the ST.
The ST is arguably more attractive in estate form. The elongated bodywork balances some of the ST's more awkward details and the simpler rear-end treatment works better too. Our "stealth grey" long-term TDCi Estate certainly looked menacing and the current "deep impact blue" petrol estate is striking, yet both slide under the radar better than a bright orange example might...