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Orange peeler!

It is an awesome package on paper ( a compact car with a 2.5-litre engine turbocharged to generate 222bhp. With an asking price of pounds 17,500 this makes for a supercar that is affordable to many motorists with the added benefit of everyday practicality.

Unsurprisingly the performance is impressive, with acceleration from rest to 60mph in just six and a half seconds and a top speed of 150mph.

With 235lb/ft of pulling power on tap and a six-speed manual shifter the rate of mid-range movement is not to be sniffed at either.

Of course any clever dick can shove an unfeasibly large engine beneath the bonnet of anything small enough to accommodate it but that does not guarantee a good performance car.

In the case of the Focus ST, however, it works well up to a point.

The power can be exploited pretty ruthlessly thanks to a capable suspension system which manages to endow it with sufficient comfort for every day use and enough damping when winding up the power.

The trademark burnt orange colour may not be to everyone's liking but thankfully there are slightly more subtle reds and blues to choose from.

Economy can be as low as 20mpg and then there is the insurance premium to consider, but in this world you don't get anything for nothing. There is always a pay-off.

Verdict:

Whose dream car? Anyone who wants a hot hatch to eclipse the new V6 Clio RenaultSport for precisely half the price of the indecently quick but infinitely desirable new Mitsubishi Evo X.

Whose nightmare? Anyone with nine points on their licence.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 17, 2006
Words:269
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