Ford sharpen the Cougar's claws

Story by Shane O' Donoghue

On November 24, 1999, Ford confirmed the UK specifications for the latest high-performance addition to the range - the Ford Cougar ST200.

As the shared name suggests, this Cougar has much in common with the Mondeo ST200. The most significant item is the 205 PS V6 engine. The Duratec is not a new unit, seeing service in more humble Mondeos before now, and even being the basis for the Jaguar S-type V6. In it's latest 2.5-litre guise, the quad-cams and 24 valves push out 35 PS more than in the regular Cougar.

The Ford Cougar ST200 in Light Metallic Blue.

The aluminium alloy block and head are retained, but the primary and secondary intake ports (variable-length inlet tracts are shared with the standard engine) are subjected to 'extrude honing'. This process involves squeezing a putty-like material containing a fine grit through the ports. The surface becomes highly polished. The theory is that the air flows more freely, increasing power output and overall efficiency.

Complementing the engine tuning is a lovely sounding twin tailpipe, low back-pressure exhaust system - again shared with the Mondeo. The extra power peaks at 6500rpm (peak torque at 5600rpm) and enables the big Cougar to reach 62mph (100km/h) in only 7.9 seconds. The claimed top speed is 143mph. Compare these figures with those for the standard Cougar in the table below.

Cougar V6 Cougar ST200
Power (PS) 170 205
Torque (Nm) 220 230
Top speed (mph) 140 143
0-62mph (sec.) 8.3 7.9

As would be expected from Ford, the chassis is substantially modified to cope. Not that the Cougar needed much adjustment. The hope is for a sportier drive, as the standard Cougar is biased towards comfort rather than outright driving ability.

Ford claim that the geometry settings are altered, together with re-thought springs, dampers and rear anti-roll bar. However, surprisingly, Ford also claim even more comfort due to larger damper pistons. I presume that this must be offset somewhat by the gorgeous ultra-low profile wheel and tyre combination - they appear to be worth the compromise I think you'll agree!

The Cougar ST200 was initially shown to the public in September 1999 at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show. It will be on sale in the UK by January 2000. Prices have not yet been released, but it is known that the ST200 will only be available in either Light Metallic Blue or Laser Red. The blue car shown here would be our choice, lending a sharpness of design to match the Cougar's new-found abilities.

Ford Cougar ST200. Click for larger image.

[This Week] [Full Contents] [News] [Features] [Car of the Week] [Motorsport] [A-Z]

Designed & hosted by caint.com