With the new Cades wheels and Continental tyres fitted last month, the way the ST looks was totally transformed. No longer does it look like a stock ‘220 – despite the only styling upgrades being the wheels! I must admit though I was nervous about loosing some of the Mondeo’s famed ride comfort by fitting the big wheels and ultra low profile tyres, but I needn’t have worried. You can feel the road a bit more beneath you, I won’t deny that, but it’s not at all crashy or harsh like I was fearing. And that’s one of the main reasons I opted for the quality Continetntal tyres, I’m sure lesser, cheaper brand tyres would haver resulted in a much less comfortable ride.
I still want to lower the car and beef up the suspension for a slightly more aggressive stance and improved handling, but before I get round to that there was one upgrade I’ve been itching to make for months, and that is a new exhaust system. The standard system was just damn quite! And when it costs so much to run, you want to at least hear where some of those fuel bills are going!
So I got in touch with the guys at Infinity Exhausts, based just up the road from the Fast Ford offices on the outskirts of Bristol and Bath, and started discussing the options for a custom cat-back system. As Infinity make everything in-house, from mating flanges to silencers, one of their systems is a truly bespoke solution. It also means you can tailor the exhaust to route exactly how you want (handy for owners of exceptionally low cars, or track cars which are frequently loaded on and off trailers), and for fast-road users, like me, it means you can actually tweak the length, shape, design, and number of silencers used to create the perfect soundtrack. What’s more, with systems starting from as little as £300 (mine was more involved and costs £500) it’s often cheaper than an off-the-shelf system – and it’s all fitted and designed specifically to fit your car!
For me, as I use the car on long, cross-country, motorway journeys as well as short blasts round to the shops and back, I wanted something that would give an encouraging roar when I planted the throttle, but something that wasn’t going to make my ears bleed on a five-hour motorway jaunt. I told the guys what I wanted, and they designed a system to suit my needs. I just had to choose from the hundreds of tailpipe option they offer!
The finished system includes three silencers, a main silencer just after the two cats (which also acts as a two-into-one junction) and two smaller silencers just before the twin tailpipes. The system also splits just before it goes up and over the rear beam (unlike the standard system) which makes removing the exhaust if necessary a whole lot easier – something that’ll come in very handy when I replace the suspension I’m sure.
The single pipe forks off into two just after the rear beam, before exiting the rear bumper in the two original positions. Watching chief fabricator, Martin, seamlessly blend the system together by hand was awe-inspiring. I know he’s done this a few times before, but I just stood back in amazement as the whole system came together before my eyes. Everything is bent, cut, shaped, and TIG welded in-house, meaning this exhaust is a true ‘custom’ job.
The result is perfect too. As soon as I fired it up I knew I’d made the right choice. From outside there’s a nice low-down grumble – not a ‘look at me’ roar, but a nice understated ‘don’t mess with me, I mean business’ type of groan usually associated with high-end German motors. From inside the cabin it’s the same story, and the whole car seems more ‘beefed up’ than previously. And, exactly as requested, at motorway cruising speeds it seems barely louder than before – you cant even hear it over the generic road noise that comes with speed anyway. But put your foot down, pull some serious revs, and the new exhaust works in harmony with the K&N induction kit to give a much more meaningful growl and roar. A high-revving, big-capacity V6 does make a nice noise, especially when that tune is played through a custom exhaust!
I’m fully aware that the new exhaust won’t have made a blind bit of difference in terms of power output, but as for improving the driving experience, well it’s one of the best mods you can make! Oh, and as a nice little bonus, downshift at the right point in the rev range and are rewarded with some (very) addictive pops and bangs too! In short, I’m over the moon with the results, and would highly recommend Infinity Exhausts to anyone. I sign off as a very happy boy!