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Could the ST be modified to a 4WD version?
I've seen a lot of Golf R with more than 400hp power only because it's a 4WD hothatch.
But the front wheel drive ST could handle no more than 350hp, more power with more waste.
Since the Kuga has 4WD version, maybe the 4WD system from Kuga could be transplanted into ST.
Unlimited potential...
 

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Anything is possible with enough money. And someone willing to do the work

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Could the ST be modified to a 4WD version?
I've seen a lot of Golf R with more than 400hp power only because it's a 4WD hothatch.
But the front wheel drive ST could handle no more than 350hp, more power with more waste.
Since the Kuga has 4WD version, maybe the 4WD system from Kuga could be transplanted into ST.
Unlimited potential...
At that point you are much, much, much better off starting with a different car.
 

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Anything is possible with enough money. And someone willing to do the work
Case in point...
Supercharged VTEC All-Wheel-Drive 2.0L Mini Clubman Estate pumping over 400 hp.
By the time this thing was put together, you're getting into the price range of a Lotus. And of course you're in uncharted territory, so plan on things not working/breaking/needing adjustments for the life of the vehicle so you'll need to stay on really good terms with the folks that did the original job (and have a steady stream of cash to throw at them).
 

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That thing is awesome!

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I'm going to put myself out there a little bit.

This worship of AWD is a puzzlement to me. I grew up driving nothing but FWD cars and other than the people haulers I've owned, never owned anything else. I've come to embrace the quirks of FWD like torque steer and under steer.

That being said, the ST has been engineered to make it one of the best handling FWD cars ever produced. Ford evaluated adding AWD and determined that the car handled / performed better without it.

If AWD is a must and you think it's the be all end all then Maybe a ST isn't the car for you. My guess is that upon driving one you won't be able to remove the grin from your face.
 

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I don't think that when Ford made the decision to keep the Focus ST (or the previous European version of the RS for that matter) FWD it was because FWD handles better. :!: It was then, as it is now, because of cost. As a previous Audi owner, along with a bevy of friends who own WRX's, and a nephew with X version of a BMW 335, 4WD is a better handling option. Just ask Sebastien Loeb or Petter Solberg. The only other variable that enters into play is weight; because 4WD will add weight and subsequently reduce gas mileage. Bur a car having 4 wheels pulling it through a turn is a better handling car than one being pushed by its rear wheels or being pulled by its two front wheels.
 

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Cost and weight were variables in the decision. I e been a long time Focus owner and enthusiast. I've followed the development and the debates about AWD vs FWD.

I'll try to find the article that notes that an AWD mule didn't perform any better around a test track than the FWD ST.

The RS has a trick set up called a Revo Knuckle that addressed the under steer and torque steer issues inherit to FWD.

Was disappointed that this set up wasn't offered on the ST but from what I've read, Ford is offering the electronic equivalent on the ST
 

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Shomare:
The attached article that you make available through your Wikipedia reference explains how Ford went with FWD and why its believes the RevoKnuckle suspension and Quaife limited slip is a better alternative.

In depth: Ford's RevoKnuckle suspension and Quaife LSD for the Focus RS

But in real world driving, everything I've read, as well as seat of the pants from personal experience, AWD is the overall best handling option. Now I've owned my Focus SVT for nearly 10 years; and its arguably one of the best handling FWD cars ever made. It's a blast to drive and is nimble as anything on the road (and it doesn't have all the new technology of RevoKnuckle/Quaife).

But truth be told, I believe that AWD cars are inherently better handling. My believe will in no way dissuade me from buying an ST Focus, nor did it 10 years ago when I bought the SVT. Ford, along with VW, Mini, Fiat and others have unquestionably proven that they can make FWD cars that are fun with impeccable handling. If it keeps the cost down, I'm all for it. As a point of comparison, look at the premium VW is getting for their Golf R verses the GTI (that price premium is not just coming from the extra 50 HP). If AWD meant that the ST would have a base price of $30K (with optioned cars going for $33-$35K), I would be considering alternatives to the ST.

Thanks to Ford for keeping the price point reasonable; and also for pusuing the technology that makes FWD a better handling option that it ever has been. But if the ST has been a $24K AWD car, lights out!!
 

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Thanks to Ford for keeping the price point reasonable; and also for pusuing the technology that makes FWD a better handling option that it ever has been.
This. I plan on pushing the limits ( a bit ;) ). But I don't think for my usage the AWD would give me an incrementally better experience to justfy the cost. Better? Yes. But only in the rare instances I'm able throw it around. Which won't be on a daily basis.
 

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In terms of AWD being 'better' at handling than fwd cars, all you have to do is go to fastestlaps.com and see time and time again cars like the Megane and Focus RS putting down better lap times than Audi's and WRX STi's to know it's not necessarily true. I drive a WRX and can tell you I've been well out-handled by fwd cars. AWD can understeer pretty badly also. I will miss traction at certain times, but not any handling characteristics.
Attached some times, STi was down in the 1:18 area. And of course things like tire selection, weather can completely change results on any given day.

laptimes.jpg
 

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In terms of AWD being 'better' at handling than fwd cars, all you have to do is go to fastestlaps.com and see time and time again cars like the Megane and Focus RS putting down better lap times than Audi's and WRX STi's to know it's not necessarily true. I drive a WRX and can tell you I've been well out-handled by fwd cars. AWD can understeer pretty badly also. I will miss traction at certain times, but not any handling characteristics.
Attached some times, STi was down in the 1:18 area. And of course things like tire selection, weather can completely change results on any given day.

View attachment 1299
I agree. I was underwhelmed by how my WRX handled. Without modification, it is far from the best handling car I've driven. The STI is more buttoned-down, but the standard WRX dips, dives, and understeers like a bigger car....not to mention steering feel was slightly numb. Yes, AWD gives you the advantage of putting power to the ground, but that does not necessarily translate to better handling.
 

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AWD better at keeping power to the road from a standstill? Absolutely. Above 2nd gear it really doesn't make that much of a difference, and the extra weight can cause it to lose any gained advantage.

AWD better handling? Not necessarily. I've raced with STIs in my MINI S (with about 100 less hp) on tight tracks and we're equally matched. The STIs are able to put the power down much sooner coming out of the turns and thus make distance from me in the next straight, but I'm able to brake much later and keep more speed through the turns, so I'm right back on their butts before the next apex. My MINI actually has less understeer than my friend's STI. When I'm in front, it's just a flip-flop. I make distance in the turns, but they're catching me by the end of the next straight. If you know how to drive your car, whether it's AWD, FWD, or RWD, you'll find that all of them have their strengths and weaknesses.
 

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In terms of AWD being 'better' at handling than fwd cars, all you have to do is go to fastestlaps.com and see time and time again cars like the Megane and Focus RS putting down better lap times than Audi's and WRX STi's to know it's not necessarily true. I drive a WRX and can tell you I've been well out-handled by fwd cars. AWD can understeer pretty badly also. I will miss traction at certain times, but not any handling characteristics.
Attached some times, STi was down in the 1:18 area. And of course things like tire selection, weather can completely change results on any given day.
I agree. I was underwhelmed by how my WRX handled. Without modification, it is far from the best handling car I've driven. The STI is more buttoned-down, but the standard WRX dips, dives, and understeers like a bigger car....not to mention steering feel was slightly numb. Yes, AWD gives you the advantage of putting power to the ground, but that does not necessarily translate to better handling.
The WRX has a fairly sucky AWD system, compared to the STi and Evo. The new ones, IIRC, don't even have a limited slip in the rear, just the center. Much like anything they can be made to handle well. I spent quite a while getting my '03 WRX set up to be neutral (spring rates, ride height, swaybars, etc) and even then, there are tradeoffs that come with it :)

As you point out, these "bone stock lap time" comparisons depend a LOT on tires, and a lot of manufacturers cheat a little bit here.

The ultimate reason why - all else equal - an AWD car is better, is the traction circle

A tire can only give so much traction, and if you're using the front tires to accelerate, you necessarily give up some ability to corner.

However, as the Megane, Focus RS, '89 Civic Si, etc demonstrate, all else is usually not equal - weight, tires, suspension setup, alignment, etc etc. Anything can beat anything depending on the driver and the setup, which is why the comparisons are usually strange. But there is a reason why no one makes a factory 400 hp FWD car - there is a point beyond which putting that power down becomes pretty darned difficult, and RWD / AWD are better layouts to do so.

Of course if you are just racing on the highway :thumbd: none of that matters.

AWD better at keeping power to the road from a standstill? Absolutely. Above 2nd gear it really doesn't make that much of a difference, and the extra weight can cause it to lose any gained advantage.

AWD better handling? Not necessarily. I've raced with STIs in my MINI S (with about 100 less hp) on tight tracks and we're equally matched. The STIs are able to put the power down much sooner coming out of the turns and thus make distance from me in the next straight, but I'm able to brake much later and keep more speed through the turns, so I'm right back on their butts before the next apex. My MINI actually has less understeer than my friend's STI. When I'm in front, it's just a flip-flop. I make distance in the turns, but they're catching me by the end of the next straight. If you know how to drive your car, whether it's AWD, FWD, or RWD, you'll find that all of them have their strengths and weaknesses.
In your example, the FWD car weighs a LOT less than the AWD cars you're comparing it to. The Focus ST is nowhere near as light as a Mini S -it is going to weigh similarly to an Evo 8/9 or an 04-07 STi. When you say "above 2nd gear it really doesn't make much of a difference", I have to wonder what you're basing that on. If your Mini was making the power and torque that an STi does, it would start making a difference in the higher gears too. Also depends on the track and the corner, etc etc etc.


(To be clear, I don't care about this for the Focus since it's going to be a daily and not a track car)
 

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The ultimate reason why - all else equal - an AWD car is better, is the traction circle
Butt:
Nice analysis. :thumb: Which is also what reviewers were saying when Ford of Europe introduced the RS; and then RS500. Even though Ford danced around the issue, cost (and yes, to some extent weight) entered into committing to FWD. And as I said above, the fact that the ST is a FWD car in no way bothers me, but per my earlier quote: if the ST could be a 250HP AWD car for $24 grand, lights out!
 
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