BBR Ford Focus ST-350
AutoCar - November '07
What is it?
Still waiting for the new Ford Focus RS? Join the club. But the hottest Ford hatch at present, the 223bhp Focus ST, is showing no signs of getting any hotter.
This, notorious tuners Brodie Brittain Racing reckons, is where it comes in, with its ST-350. For the princely sum of £9795 over the price of your own ST, BBR will lower its suspension, tweak the geometry, fit a big-bore stainless steel exhaust system and slot in a limited-slip differential.
Oh, and then theyíll take your engine to bits, fit a different turbo and a clever air inlet system, and remap the ECU. The end result is, wait for it, 356bhp and 380lb ft.
Whatís it like?
Itís a mighty lump, no doubt about it; thereís torque from barely 2000rpm, but unlike the regular ST, which tightens up considerably at around 5000rpm, the BBR will happily rev through to over 6500rpm.
We can believe BBRís claimed 0-60mph time of 5.0sec and the limited maximum of 165mph. There can be few £30k cars as rapid as this, and fewer still will sound as good.
On twistier roads, though, things can get a little messy. The suspension tweaks (bottom wishbones, mainly) do an admirable job of coping with so much twist through the front wheels; the STís fine damping has largely been retained too. But you can still light up the front tyres on the way out of third gear bends. And thatís in the dry.
When things get bumpy, the LSD tends to deliver spectacular but lurching acceleration. Short-shifting helps, but do that and youíre half the way back to a normal ST anyway, shunning this carís incredible power levels for its safer, easier-to-manage mid-range torque.
Should I buy one?
While itís all good clean fun, this car ultimately raises as many new questions as it delivers answers to old problems. As a track-day weapon it has considerable merit. But itís not as incredible as the prospect might appear as a road car, and itís definitely not the new RS; only Ford itself can deliver that.
David Brodie: 'If someone had told me 30 years ago that I would be turning out a 350HP+ FWD car I would have said it was impossible and they where mad! But guess we just did it, our BBR ST350 is a very serious 'bit of road kit', which is just as at home in heavy stop go traffic and on the track as well. This vehicle is used daily by me on some of the worst bumpy country lanes in Oxfordshire. For instance I can't go over 65MPH down these lanes in a STD Cooper S, but with the BBR350 when no one is looking I can hit over 90MPH in this amazing missile, this is a tribute to our powergrip suspension. Further I can't tell you how much fun it is to blow away £100K super cars in our ST350 which must rank as one of the greatest Q cars to hit the streets.
Sex and drugs have nothing on this little baby.'