You are not going to believe this, but there is more to a car than Just performance.
I owned a 2008.5 MS3, which by the way is faster than the current version. It is a powerhouse, and the power is very brutish. The ST can power strongly away at uber low RPM much like the GTI can while still not running out of breath at the top like the MS3 is famous for.
Let me explain where I am coming from.. it is a whole car point of view, not just a few numbers in an instrumented performance test.
The GTI is a complete waste of time compared to this car. It is so far ahead in terms of performance and at least equal in ergos the GTI has nothing more to offer other than a cushy ride.
The Focus ST is so far ahead of the MS3 in terms of ergos it is silly, it does not have the Draconian nannies that the MS3 has, has an infinitely better shifter, and the performance is probably about a dead heat despite the HP difference.
The MS3 is great, no doubt, but hits a wall when pushed up to 8/10's. Not sure if the electric Diff in the ST will be able to outperform the MS3, but we will see. It certainly seems to have more grip.
The Focus ST took the best part of both of these two cars the GTI and the MS3 and matched or improved them. So as a whole car, the Focus ST is a smarter choice than either of its two main FWD competitors. Until the MS3 gets an update, it will be forever regulated to 2nd place behind this car in my opinion. It just comes up far too short in the refinement category.
As for the tires, get over it. If Mazda decides not to put better tires on their cars its their fault. But my MS3 had 215's on it, and it was still a little go kart. The MS3 has more HP an more torque in a heavier car with narrower tires. Sounds like a problem Mazda needs to solve. However, the wider the tire, the less feel a tire can have, so every decision must be balanced with the consequences.
Laugh all you want about the MS3 figures, but they are believable to me since if you even nudge the rev limiter it shuts you down like somebody flips a switch. Not being able to disable the nannies is crap. It is 90% of the reason I sold my speed3