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Ford fiesta st wolf tuning

Modified cars are often a double-edged sword – while they have more performance, they can lose driveability and refinement. But the ST WR300 is spot-on. Wolf’s engineers have increased power without taking away the engine’s smooth delivery. Do bear in mind that there will be added insurance and fuel costs, but overall the WR300 is an excellent package.

Fast Ford fans have never had it so good – and it’s down to the fact we’re living in the golden age of the hot hatch. Not since the Eighties has the blue oval built so many souped-up fam­ily cars – and they’re quicker than ever.

Back in 1989, the Escort RS Turbo kicked out 130bhp, thanks to a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine. Today, even the Fiesta ST makes 150bhp, while the Focus version produces a storming 217bhp.

But for dedicated enthusiasts, there’s a problem. The Focus ST isn’t the most powerful hot hatch on sale, as Vauxhall’s Astra VXR delivers a meaty 240bhp.

There is a solution, though, and it’s called the ST WR300. Modified by German tuning specialist Wolf Racing, it’s a flagship Focus with considerably more bite – and it’s on sale in the UK.

Thanks to a larger turbo and a revised management system, the ST’s 2.5-litre motor produces 296bhp and 386Nm of torque. Wolf estimates that the 0-60mph time is cut from 6.5 seconds to 5.9 seconds, while top speed jumps from 150mph to around 160mph.

The figures are one thing, but what’s it like to drive? Well, the ST is certainly faster, but its character is the same. Thanks to a boost limiting system and revised traction control, power and torque are progressively increased through the gears.

As a result, the WR300 contains torque steer in first and second as well as the standard car, while in higher ratios the ST flies. Acceler­ation is much stronger, and there’s no turbo lag to speak of. The Wolf conversion is good value, too. The basic engine mods cost £3,499, which means if you own an ST-1, you could have a 300bhp hot hatch for around £20,000.

There are drawbacks, though. Only three Ford dealers can convert standard cars so far, and the updates invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty, although they are covered by a 12-month policy. Secondly, because the extra power is only really available at higher speeds, UK drivers will struggle to take advantage of it on public roads, while insurance and fuel bills will also increase.

The WR300 is faster than the standard car, has better in-gear response and sounds more exciting, too. If you want the ultimate Focus, look no further – at least until Wolf reveals its WR330 and WR360 versions later this year.

As well as the engine mods, our test car came with lowered springs, 19-inch alloys and a host of spoilers and graphics. However, we’d stick with the standard car’s suspension, which provides a superb balance between comfort and grip.
* Engine: 2.5-litre 5cyl, 296bhp
* 0-60mph: 5.9 seconds (est)
* Price: £25,750

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