[quote name='Pitmonster' timestamp='1357142146' post='223952']
If you want an ST then buy an ST.
A replica will not look as good (and will definitely NEVER go/handle as good)
Insurance will cost more for the ST but how much will you spend modifying your standard car? At least as much as you save in insurance, or more likely 3-4 times that. You mention that the insurance would go from £120/month to £200/month , so the difference is £80/month or £960/year. Doing modifications properly will cost thousands and after all that cost/time the car still won't be a good as a proper ST.
You say you have a budget of £3-4k plus what you get for your car.
Let's say £5k all in.
Add on £3k for mods (Front/rear bumpers, side skirts, ST headlights, paint, alloys & tyres, interior/seats, suspension, exhaust, and at least some engine performance mods) and you've easily spent £8k, or probably more.
What's a real ST cost? Someone said £7-8k?
And after you declare all the mods the insurance will probably be the same anyway - or more! (And if you don't declare them you're breaking the law)
And then consider resale value.
How many modified cars do you see for sale where the advert says "£10,000 spent" and the asking price is £1,500
Where did all that lost money go?
With a real ST you will get much much more of your money back when you sell.
If you want a fast car then buy a fast car and stomach the insurance - it genuinely will be the cheapest option overall. Don't waste money in trying to turn a slow car into a fast car.
A poor analogy:
If you want to marry a pretty girl, would you start off with an ugly girl and throw money at her on plastic surgery, liposuction etc?
I know the Focus ST p11ssses all over the standard models for looks and performance but its not so much the performance that im buying for as i mainly get stuck in busy traffic to and from work anyway its just the looks. And as i have been looking for a mk2 for the last few months i can count on 1 hand how many i have seen that look really good with better alloys etc. Every model i am seeing has either wheel trims or tiny alloys. I have owned 2 mk1's and my current car and u see hundreds for sale with 17 inch st alloys or 18 inch alloys that just set the car off alot better.. but all the mk2's for sale are just so bland and basic interior
I love Focus's having had three of them since passing my test and they have all been faultless but im almost getting swayed as im having such a hard time finding a mk2 that looks a little better than the standard one's on the road. I have been looking at mondeo's and im shocked at the great extra's and luxury interior on the st220's and the Titanium x's compared to the Focus of the same age.