The big rear spoiler drops so quickly from view as you slow down to urban speeds, and with such a loud thwack, that you swear every time it has just fallen off. You sit so close to the centre of the car’s cabin that, with a passenger alongside you, your shoulders are in constant contact. You also have to remind yourself that over your other shoulder there is at least another foot of bodywork. The seat itself is fixed so you tug the pedal box towards you or kick it away with your feet, adjusting the steering column for reach to get your driving position just so. The floating upper section of the dashboard brilliantly mimics the exterior aero tunnels that are this car’s signature design feature, adding to the very real impression that air doesn’t flow over the top of this car or underneath it, but that it passes directly through it.
The engine is industrial-sounding, all tuneless turbocharged blare, uncultured thrashing and assorted whistles and whooshes. It isn’t in the least bit musical, but you will not happen upon a more purposeful or to-the-point soundtrack away from a racing paddock. With 647bhp on tap and less than 1500kg to punt along, the GT does feel furiously quick, but it doesn’t deliver quite the panic-inducing, unrelenting acceleration of the admittedly more powerful McLaren 720S.
The GT’s steering is detailed and incredibly direct, and there is so much body control even on a cresting, yumping road that it seems daft to mention it at all. Body control is to the Ford GT driver what sand is to the Bedouin. On top of that, the car has enormous grip and freakish agility, but while the springs are very firm and there’s only a modest amount of wheel travel, the quality of the damping in that very short stroke means the ride is actually mature and sophisticated.
In fact, it is the Fiesta ST that feels busier when flung across our chosen stretch of Cambridgeshire B-road, boinging up and down in its trademark way where the GT is a little more settled. The ST’s 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo motor is more or less half the engine the GT’s 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 is, but rated at 197bhp it delivers not even a third of the power. Aside from their industrial soundtracks, the two engines have very little in common – the ST’s three-pot feeling as though it’s done its best work by 5500rpm, whereas the GT’s V6 wants to keep on going.
Both cars have frantically responsive steering, to the point where you have to calm your steering inputs to avoid making either car feel nervous or flighty. If there really is any shared DNA between them, however, it’s this: while both cars are enjoyable to drive at medium speeds, they really come together and start working as a cohesive whole rather than a series of interconnected components when you start pressing on. They both want to be flogged near enough to death, and in both cases the engineers have compromised some level of everyday agreeableness – a little in the case of the ST, a lot for the GT–to make it that way.