When it comes to Ford Focus ST Exhaust, it seems everyone has a favorite – from the old fashioned jerry-rigged ‘Let’s cut out the muffler’ method to bolt-on Muffler Deletes to full 3in cat-back systems, there’s a range of opinions on what is “The Best Exhaust For Focus ST” – the truth about exhausts is that there’s never a “the best”, the exhaust which sounds best to you may not necessarily be what ‘everyone else’ likes. That’s just how it is. Which is why when you’re considering buying an exhaust system, you listen to sound clips and get feedback from people who own and live with that particular exhaust.
Every once and a while, an enthusiast will reach out to us with their input and long term evaluations – this blog feature is just that. Steve E has had the Cobb Catback for a year now on his Focus ST, and he shared his honest and unbiased opinion of the system after a year of living with it, and what he thought of the system. We figure you’d rather hear it direct from the source rather than us repeat someone else’s words, so without further adieu, here’s Steve’s review of the Cobb Tuning cat-back exhaust for Focus ST.
Long Term Review: Cobb Catback Exhaust for 2014 Ford Focus ST
For the past year, I have been running the COBB 3” stainless steel cat back exhaust. I think it deserves a review…
Let’s start with some features: The COBB cat back (catalytic converter to exit) 3” exhaust system was built for performance. The system uses 304 stainless steel. All mandrel bends were done on a CNC controlled bender, which provides minimal flow restriction and perfect fitment of each unit. All flanges and hangers are TIG welded for strength and for a clean appearance. The mandrel-bent 3in exhaust tubing is combined with a set of custom inline mufflers and a dual 4” tip that is polished and etched with the COBB logo.
The fit and finish is almost jewelry-like, with TIG welds are so clean, they look painted on (taking “stacking dimes” to a whole new level). The kit comes with everything you need to install it yourself, including (2) different size gaskets for either a stock downpipe or aftermarket 3” downpipe. (Editor’s Note: Other systems are often “slip on” types using clamps, which are less user-friendly)
It is also available with optional COBB exhaust hangers – an aggressive driver will benefit from this the most, as it will allow less movement and enhance the overall integrity of the SS system. I wanted to point out that while Stainless Steel is extremely resistant to corrosion, it is also very rigid, which means that reducing the movement or flexing of the system will help ensure that your exhaust leads a long life. Because of those things, I’d recommend the hangers.
(Editor’s Note: Given how soft the stock exhaust hangars are, we recommend COBB Exhaust hangars for any ST upgrading its exhaust)
In cabin, sound is nice. With a deep tone at cruising speed (no drone) and a nice little vibration when applying light throttle. HOWEVER, lay that skinny pedal down and it’s “hello racecar.” WOW. With a sound so deep and so clear, its awakening to say the least.
You may find yourself taking the more scenic route to ensure you hit as many tunnels and under bridge crossing as you can. Can you say “RUMBLE”?
Yes, it is that good. Now with passengers, you might lighten up on the throttle in order to continue casual conversation… unless you speak loudly, like I do.
Out of cabin sounds are even better. A deep, aggressive and powerful sound with just a little pop and crackle. That RS type of sound can be obtained when you add the 3” COBB downpipe, with all the snap, crackle, and pop you want.
(You’ll be hearing a lot of these three dudes. –Editor)
Overall, I love the COBB cat back exhaust system on my Focus ST. Although it can get loud in the cabin sometimes, there is little to no drone. Its easy to lift off if its too early to wake up yet. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a reasonable sound level, yet a powerhouse when you drop that skinny pedal.
If you bought it, Mod it
In addition to the Cobb Cat-Back Exhaust, Steve’s Focus ST also sports a few other upgrades – it wouldn’t be fair if we only talked about the exhaust, now would it?
Power is enhanced thanks to a Cobb Tuning AccessPORT for Focus ST, running Stage 1 OTS 91 octane map for daily driver duty – stage I gains are 10whp – sure 10whp isn’t much, except the other half of that statement is TORQUE is DRAMATICALLY increased from 270tq to 340tq – a MASSIVE increase in twist.
Since the Focus ST is a direct injection car, an Oil Catch Can is a great idea on both the Focus ST and the also-direct-injection Fiesta ST, and Steve has fitted his with a JBR Oil Catch Can to keep the intake path and intercooler clean and free of oil residue. Keeping shifting short-handed is a Mountune Short Shift plate, which reduces shift effort around 30% for much more accurate throws when shifting. You might notice that the wheels sit a bit different than your average Focus too – the stock Focus ST wheels sit a bit further out than stock thanks to 15mm Spacers up front and 20mm Spacers in the rear to bring the wheels out flush with the fender wells.
Being a canyon driving enthusiast, the OEM Focus ST brakes on Steve’s Focus ST needed some beefing up as well. A set of StopTech Slotted Brake Rotors for Focus ST, paired with StopTech Brake Pads, STEEDA Stainless Steel Brake Lines and StopTech STR600 Brake Fluid takes the brakes from inadequate to OEM+, ready to take on whatever Angeles Crest Highway can throw at it.
Thanks to Steve for sharing his photos and his experience with his Focus ST with us, and we’re sure these are by no means the last upgrades “STella” will see.
Need parts for your Focus ST or mods for Fiesta ST? From Injen Intakes and COBB AccessPORTs to Eibach Springs and H&R Coilovers, we can get it all for your ST. Talk to our Mod Experts today – talk to Ford & ST specialist Mod Experts who can help recommend what might be the best upgrades for your ST or talk to Nick, our in-house ST Owner/Enthusiast for technical advice as to where to go with your build next, or stop by our monthly Ford ST/EcoBoost meet and say hi! or any of our Mod Experts at 714-582-3330 or chat live on ModBargains.com
Story & Photos by Steve Eller
Photos & Text Edited by Nick Gregson