Test drove one today
I have to say, the new Focus ST has met almost all of my expectations and exceeded a few. There's a silver Focus ST for sale in Harvey, LA. The hood gap is a much exaggerated issue IMO (didn't look out of place to me), but the trunk is kind of shallow. I love how this car blends in in plain colors (silver, black, white) it really doesn't stand out too much in silver and it's making me think I'd rather get one in white than Tangerine Scream. The seats are nice, however I was disappointed that the lumbar support is not adjustable like in the VW GTI (and some may find it snug, I was comfortable but my waist is less than 30").
I test drove a VW GTI less week and have found that there's not a whole lot of comparisons that have been offered so here are some pros and cons I noticed:
+The Ford Focus ST makes a much better engine sound. I love it.
+The Ford Focus' new car smell wasn't nearly as overbearing.
+I actually like the implementation of MFT. Very trick.
~The steering in the VW GTI felt a little bit more fluid to me. I didn't get to drive the Focus ST far enough to get used to the quick ratio of the steering, but it certainly felt strange, I think I could grow to like it once accustomed to it.
-The solidity and refinement everybody refers to when defending the GTI, it's there, even if only slightly. The doors feel slightly more substantial, make a slightly better sound when closing, but it's very negligible.
-The VW has a couple really nice touches like the gas-charged shock that holds the hood up. The engine compartment is way less cluttered and actually gives room to work on the engine. The Focus ST's engine cover and compartment altogether are incredible tacky in comparison (IMO).
Overall, I'd pick the Focus ST for two reasons: It's less expensive and I think the car sounds way better under throttle. The VW GTI is however the car to get if you want the most premium feeling car in this category.
I just thought I'd offer my opinion on how the two cars compare. I really like the Focus ST and will probably order one next year.
Shout out to Don Bohn Ford in Harvey, LA. Shane Petty was very nice and nobody in the dealership was pushy in any way.