- Mar 27, 2003
- Myrtle Beach, SC
2018 Focus ST Mods | MBRP Exhaust - Intercooler - Downpipe - Tune
I’ve made my fair share of trips to the SVT/Ford Performance engineering offices over the years, and one thing I always pay attention is the employee parking lot (which used to be covered in burnout/drifting marks that were visible from space). The cars parked there will tell you a lot about the guys who work there, and there is certainly a trend that’s easily spotted. Back in the early SVT days you were likely to see an inordinate number of Contour SVTs. That eventually gave way to the SVT Focus, and then the focus ST. At any point in time it seemed like a 3rd of the cars in that lot would fall into one of the model ranges.
The MBRP Cat-Back is a quality piece that has far better looks than the factory unit.
There’s a good reason for that. Those engineers designed those cars to be extremely fun, capable, and sporty; while still being comfortable for daily driver duty. SVT/FP’s small cars have always been the automotive equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife for the performance enthusiast. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve known with a Cobra or GT500 home in the garage that daily drive a compact SVT/ST. It’s a combination that just works, and it says a lot about the final product that men who engineer it also drive it to work everyday.
It's easy to see the differences in design an construction of the factory and aftermarket intercoolers.
Still, the OEMs can only go so far. That’s where the enthusiasts and aftermarket pick up and carry the torch a bit farther. It just so happened that Rich, a long time friend and owner of multiple Fords, rolled into town with his newly purchased 2018 Focus ST loaded down with a shopping list of performance upgrades. On deck were an MBRP Cat-Back Exhaust, Depo-Racing Catted Downpipe, Depo-Racing Intercooler, K&N Air Filter, NGK Spark Plugs, and a 93 Octane Tune from Edge AutoSport. With parts in hand we headed over to a local shop that loaned us a bay to do the install work ourselves. Check out this vid of the install work and final test drive:
Other than some laughable instructions for the intercooler and its bracket system making it a pain to install, everything went smoothly. The MBRP exhaust was very well made and added a great tone to the 2.0L EcoBoost engine. The design differences between the Depo-Racing Downpipe and the stock unit are stark, and the aftermarket piece had to unleash some hidden horsepower. The Depo-Racing Intercooler is massive compared to the factory unit, which is prone to allowing high IATs on extended pulls. All these mods were brought together by the Edge AutoSport tune, which definitely sharpened the responsiveness of the turbo’d mill.
Which one do you think will better cool the air charge?
On the road, the car is simply just better. This particular combination of is a subtle one. Nothing in particular stands out, but everything works together to produce a driving experience that is sharper than stock without annoyingly quirky or obtrusive. In other words, everything that makes the Focus ST a pleasure to daily drive has been enhanced without losing the road manners that makes it a popular choice for professional automotive engineers. I’d say that deserves a cold beer or three after a long day of turning wrenches.
The factory downpipe is severely compromised by the crimped neck-down transition from the turbo flange to the cat. The aftermarket unit corrects that design flaw.
The new intercooler looks great in mounted in place.
The MBRP exhaust fit perfectly into place and sounded great.
I particularly like the design of the MBRP tailpipe.
I think the dual round tip exhaust design is much classier looking than the factory squished-trapezoidal exit.
This is a really nice looking commuter, and a blast to drive. It's a shame Ford no longer sells them in the US.