Ford has been singing the praises of its new Focus ST for the best part of two years, but now the car has hit the streets we find ourselves asking 'just how good is it?' Ford itself has attempted to answer this conundrum, pitting the new hot hatch against several of its main competitors in a glossy video.
The Focus goes head to head with the Mazdaspeed 3, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GTI -- all of which offer similar peformance and practicality. But by the end of the video, the relatively humble but seemingly bulletproof Focus ST even challenges a more powerful, more expensive BMW M3.
The comparisons to the hatchbacks are sound enough. The Focus ST's 2-litre four-pot turbo engine chucks out 247bhp, 360Nm of torque and will romp to 60mph in 6.2 seconds. The Mazdaspeed 3 uses a larger 2.4-litre engine and chucks out slightly more power but gets to 60mph in 6.4 seconds.
Ford's video ignores the numbers, but points to the fact that the ST has a variable ratio steering rack for better control at high speed and on sharp turns, as well as torque steer compensation, which lets it channel its power to the ground more efficiently.
The video shows the Focus ST blitzing past the Mazda before it encounters a Subaru WRX. The Scooby has the edge on the Focus for power thanks to its 300bhp 407Nm engine, but Ford takes the opportunity here to remind us that the ST has a clever overboost facility, which works a bit like an afterburner, extending peak torque for up to 15 seconds at a time.
Next on the ST's hitlist is the BMW M3 but, wisely, the driver in the video doesn't even bother taking it on. The big German has access to 420bhp and 400Nm of torque and can run rings around the Ford, but the company points to the fact the Beemer costs a whopping £53,000 while the ST costs just £21,900.
So, does this video prove the Ford Focus ST is the best hot hatch money can buy? No, but Ford makes a good case for the new car, which we're willing to concede is right up there with the finest.
Check the footage for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments below.