RE: Ford Focus ST Mountune m330 | PH Review

RE: Ford Focus ST Mountune m330 | PH Review

Sunday 24th May

Ford Focus ST Mountune m330 | PH Review

For £600, the front-drive ST gets RS-grade power courtesy of Ford's perennial tuning partner. Bargain?



Weโ€™re well aware just how good the chassis of the latest Ford Focus ST is: the five-door hatchback beat the Megane Trophy, Golf GTI TCR and i30N Performance in our group testย last year. On a sodden Welsh hillside, its best traits - a clever front diff and impressive body control - came to the fore, and trumped the power advantage claimed by its direct rivals. A fair result on the day, but the obvious thought did linger: to what extent had the rain concealed the shortcomings of the Fordโ€™s 2.3-litre turbocharged engine?

Well, now thereโ€™s a ยฃ600 way of seeing off any apprehension. Mountuneโ€™s m330 upgrade comprises a higher spec air filter and the tuner's own smartflash ECU technology, lifting the EcoBoost unit to peaks of 330hp and 380lb ft of torque. Gains of 50hp and 70lb ft not only place the ST head and shoulders above its rivals, but also elevate the latter beyond the Focus RS by 56lb ft. The m330 Focus claims 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds โ€“ although don't assume that tells the full story of one driven axle versus two.

The impact of the STโ€™s newfound performance, given that it is accompanied by totally standard running gear in our test carโ€™s case, is significant. But you wouldnโ€™t necessarily know about it from the outside. Tailgate badge, Mountune decals and yellow gear knob aside, thereโ€™s nothing to shout about a visit to Mountuneโ€™s Brentwood workshop. Nor is there anything untoward in the carโ€™s basic function: the STโ€™s standard drive modes โ€“ Slippery, Normal, Sport and (with the optional Performance Pack) Race โ€“ plus Sync 3 infotainment are all present and correct. Even the exhaust note on start-up is unchanged because the pipework remains standard.


As is almost always the case, Mountuneโ€™s efforts are all centred on the fun stuff. Familiar Ford features, like lifted-clutch throttling where engine revs subtly spike as you raise the left pedal, and quick, positive weight steering, all endure. Trundling around town is certainly no different,ย the ST not in any great need of the extra torque now available to it. Miles per gallon are seemingly unaffected; the car returned high 20s in town and 40 on the motorway. Predictably, itโ€™s only when you begin to work the four-pot motor that the m330 benefits begin to show.ย 

The engineโ€™s characteristic intake rumble seems deeper and more prominent, and the rate at which the pace builds is noticeably greater with 380lb ft arriving at 3,000rpm. Off the line, Mountuneโ€™s re-tuned launch control (which holds revs smack bang on the entry-point of that peak twist) makes the claimed 0-62mph time believable - or it does on warm tarmac at least. Under heavy load there are more tugs at the steering wheel now, but not so much that it dramatically affects the carโ€™s line or alters engine revs. Importantly, the STโ€™s ability to haul you out of bends seems unchanged, and by the time youโ€™re in third, the upshot of its extra power is readily apparent. The idea of any previous deficiency is safely put to bed; so much so that the m330 feels like it would leave the vast majority of its rivals for dead.ย 

Mountuneโ€™s test car gets Fordโ€™s optional Performance Pack, a tick-box addition that anyone interested in forking out six hundred quid for an engine upgrade is likely to have already chosen. Certainly itโ€™s a worthwhile enhancement, as it delivers firmer damping in Sport and Race modes (although you still canโ€™t alter the chassis settings separately from the engine), something weโ€™d argue is essential to highlighting the wider benefits of Mountuneโ€™s handiwork. Not because the standard setupโ€™s softer settings couldnโ€™t handle the power, but because with the dampers firmed up, a properly tacked-down front axle can become brilliantly entertaining. Attack a set of consecutive bends on throttle and the m330 dances through them imperiously.ย 


Equally, with a lifted throttle or trailed brake the Focus ST will allow for some pretty significant corner entry angles. Itโ€™s rare for a hatchbackโ€™s back end to feel so keen to maintain the rotation, but the ST doesnโ€™t let its 2.7-metre wheelbase limit its playfulness. Its composure isnโ€™t restricted to the Sport and Race modes, but the chassis unquestionably feels more agile in its more aggressive states. Given that you canโ€™t access the fruiter engine or exhaust settings in Normal, that's probably a good thing. Worth mentioning, too, that in Sport, Mountune has retuned the engine map so the exhaust will crackle and pop on a lifted throttle, which is silly - but also good.ย 

Evidently, no work was needed on the standard STโ€™s six-speed gearbox, so you get the same positive shift action - possibly made a little more positive by the addition of the Mountune gear knob, as it deletes the cushioning effect of the standard leather affair. At the very least, being yellow, it adds a flash of colour to an otherwise plain Ford cabin, one which retains its nicely bolstered seats and plenty of legroom front and rear. Itโ€™s hard to fault Fordโ€™s machine for all-round functionality either. If thereโ€™s one complaint, itโ€™s that the STโ€™s brakes did start to show the strain of all that extra power. A squidgy pedal was never followed by a reduction in stopping power, but itโ€™s enough to suggest that those wanting to make the most of Mountuneโ€™s upgrades ought to consider upgrading the pads at the same time.ย 

That highlight (or lowlight) notwithstanding, itโ€™s the standard condition of Mountuneโ€™s demo m330 which makes its upgrade so compelling. For less than two per cent of the ยฃ32k asking price, you can take the Focus ST from first-rate to fantastic. The additional power doesnโ€™t spoil Fordโ€™s judicious development work, it augments it in all the right ways - so much so that with the demise of the Focus RS, itโ€™s hard not to imagine the manufacturer producing its own enhanced version of the standard model. Of course,ย that would arrive with a substantial premium; the m330 outlay is trifling, and absolutely no impediment to the STโ€™s status as a practical, well-appointed family hot hatch. A no-brainer? Yep, times a million.


SPECIFICATION | FORD FOCUS ST MOUNTUNE M330
Engine:
ย 2,261cc, turbocharged four-cyl
Transmission:ย 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp):ย 330@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft):ย 380@3,000rpm
0-62mph:ย 5.2 secs
Top speed:ย 155mph (standard car)
Weight:ย 1,508kg (lightest kerbweight with 75kg driver, full fluids and 90 per cent fuel)
MPG:ย 35.7 (standard car)
CO2:ย 179g/km (standard car)
Price:ย From ยฃ32,595 (for a ยฃ31,995 ST plus the ยฃ600 m330 upgrade)









Author
Discussion

Dynion Araf Uchaf

Original Poster:

2,460 posts

177 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Looks like a good car, maybe a bit under the radar. However I can’t help thinking that you’d spend a lifetime justifying to others why you chose this over a Type R or Megane. It’s a sign of the times but a Ford doesn’t get the love a Type R or Megane gets. It’s not the obvious choice.

John Allison

17 posts

70 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Think these are really good looking hatches & seems like decent gains for the money. Could probably live without the bizarre gear knob though...

ajap1979

3,855 posts

141 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Looks terribly bland, particularly in white.

BMR

792 posts

132 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
John Allison said:
Think these are really good looking hatches & seems like decent gains for the money. Could probably live without the bizarre gear knob though...
Worth 2 points if you pot it though.

Vast majority of gearknob ‘upgrades’ always look weird to me.

Roy m

87 posts

167 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
So does it retain the warranty?

aelord

287 posts

179 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
All good apart from the looks. How hard is it?

T1berious

1,285 posts

109 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Roy m said:
So does it retain the warranty?
^This^

If it does, than the articles summary of "no brainer" is warranted. If the answer is an awkward "No" accompanied by shuffling of feet and looking at the floor, then its a caveat that deserves mentioning.

I know previously the Mountune kits didn't affect the Ford warranty but that changed. Would like to know if thats still the case?

jase_llan

66 posts

11 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
T1berious said:
^This^

If it does, than the articles summary of "no brainer" is warranted. If the answer is an awkward "No" accompanied by shuffling of feet and looking at the floor, then its a caveat that deserves mentioning.

I know previously the Mountune kits didn't affect the Ford warranty but that changed. Would like to know if thats still the case?
Pretty sure warranty will be affected, from memory:

MP/FPM - warranty approved
M/MR - not warranty approved

Pretty sure MP/MR were replaced after the MK7 Fiesta, and FPM seems to have gone (no more Ford affiliation) leaving just the M products as in the article.

TristPerrin

106 posts

132 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Roy m said:
So does it retain the warranty?
It's not warranted by Ford, no.

I was VERY close to chopping in my last gen ST3 with the 275 pack for the new ST, but then the world went to pot. While there though the dealer was very clear they wouldn't warranty the new mountune options.

I'll probably still do it, I bet theres going to be some tasty deals when this is all over.


BigChiefmuffinAgain

308 posts

52 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Nice car. Truly horrid gear leaver. Monotone may be good engineers but stylist they ain't....

apc321

13 posts

78 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
I like it that it has a single exhaust on each side of the car.

I would never consider buying a Golf R, unless I could find a workshop who could cut off one of those stupid looking exhaust tips off each side of the car, before I drove it on the road.

novus

135 posts

114 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Dynion Araf Uchaf said:
Looks like a good car, maybe a bit under the radar. However I can’t help thinking that you’d spend a lifetime justifying to others why you chose this over a Type R or Megane. It’s a sign of the times but a Ford doesn’t get the love a Type R or Megane gets. It’s not the obvious choice.
It might not get the love on here but they will sell more of these than Honda or Renault will do I imagine

ZX10R NIN

17,544 posts

79 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
That's a nice improvement for £600 & their work has proved itself reliable & a touch conservative when compared to other tuning firms.

RichardDastardly

81 posts

17 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
As an older gen Focus ST owner, I really want to like the look of these and consider them a potential future car - but I don’t. On paper they seem to have all of the necessary ingredients but I think I have to agree with those who’ve said that the looks somehow seem a little bland, with less character than previously.

That said, all the reviews suggest they drive really well and presumably these are going to be very tune-able given that the base engine runs much higher power in other versions. No doubt we can expect Dreamscience and Puma Speed coming up with some interesting offerings too.

Steh

11 posts

20 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Dreamscience already have it was in EVO a while back, agree with the comments on it looking really bland in white and as an owner of an 18plate mrk 3.5 ST the new focus interior is a step back for me, have yet to drive one and when the time comes to change mine they will have hopefully given the Focus a face-lift..
Reviews on how it drives compared to mine say its a much better drive?

Sandpit Steve

589 posts

28 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Another piece of evidence for the suggestion that many modern turbocharged cars are being held back by marketing and emissions considerations - that must be three or four pieces now about massive power gains for apparently little effort (New 911, Merc A45 etc). These are going to be great fun, as soon as the warranties run out!

aaron_2000

3,794 posts

37 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
The front end looks nice, but the rest of the body and the interior are just so generic. I couldn't spend any period of time in that interior, it might actually be worse than the Leon. It's a shame the Focus has ended up bland like the Escort.

BMR

792 posts

132 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
I think this mode ST looks far better in orange..

Wolvesboy

449 posts

95 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
I always avidly read about Mountune's work and the electrical engineering must be awesome. But to me this car looks too similar to a Hyundai i30N. I would love to own one though with the big brother RS pretty much near the top of my car wish list.

welshy255

17 posts

80 months

Saturday 23rd May
quotequote all
Frustrating that the warranty aspect isn’t mentioned what so ever, surely that is/was one of the benefits of using Mountune over Revo or any other aftermarket company for what is essentially a remap.

No-brainier doesn’t spring to mind if the warranties void! Stinks of being a paid for article IMO.