That Time Ford Built An 'Eco' Mondeo ST With A Supercharged LPG V6

The Ford Mondeo ST250 Eco was the Blue Oval's attempt at making a 'green' performance car, but it never went into production
That Time Ford Built An 'Eco' Mondeo ST With A Supercharged LPG V6

For most, LPG or autogas is about making heavy, large-engined cars like V8 Range Rovers (or if you’re my brother, a temperamental BMW E39 540i) just about affordable to run. There are numerous aftermarket conversion kits available, but over the years manufacturers have dabbled in cars made to run on the fuel - taxed at a much lower rate than petrol and diesel in many countries - from the factory.

The vast majority aren’t particularly exciting, putting an emphasis on running costs by pairing an LPG system with an already frugal smaller engine. But there was one mainstream manufacturer effort that promised to marry the green aspects of LPG with something a little more potent.

At the 1999 Geneva Motor Show, Ford revealed three distinct versions of the first-generation, face-lifted Mondeo. Two were production cars: the ST24-replacing ST200, and the 1.8 ‘AFV’ (alternative fuel vehicle). The final car, a concept, kinda/sorta combined both. It was called the ST250 Eco.

The production ST200 was revealed alongside the ST250 concept
The production ST200 was revealed alongside the ST250 concept

Yep, Ford was really keen to push the eco-friendly angle with the ST250, as evidenced by this little nugget from the press release:

“Ford’s exciting Mondeo ST250 ECO concept shows how enthusiast drivers can be environmentalists, too, with an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) that is designed to be both quick and clean.”

As for the “quick” bit, that box was ticked with a big V6 engine. While the ST200 made do with a 2.5-litre six-banger developing 202bhp, the 250 had a 3.0-litre unit. With a supercharger attached. This brought the power to the 245bhp, an absurd for a front-wheel drive car in 1999.

Prodrive - which ran a Mondeo in the BTCC for Ford - developed tech for the ST250
Prodrive - which ran a Mondeo in the BTCC for Ford - developed tech for…

The block and crankshaft came from the Taurus, while the 12-valve-per-bank cylinder heads were bespoke to the ST250. The supercharger was a “highly efficient” one supplied by Eaton.

The finishing touch came from Prodrive, which at the time was running Ford’s Mondeo BTCC car at the height of the legendary ‘Supertouring’ era. It developed an unusual “clutchless” gearshifting system that allowed drivers to either shift using buttons on the steering wheel or row through the MTX unit’s five speeds the old-fashioned way.

The car looked the part, too. Ian Callum penned a more aggressive body kit for the ST250, which included angrier bumpers, bigger side skirts, and a sizeable rear wing, and Ford promptly stuffed 18-inch multispoke wheels - big rims back then - under the arches. The suspension setup largely mirrored that of the ST200, with additional tweaks to the dampers and spring rates.

To fulfill the ‘Eco’ bit of the car name, Ford fitted a donut-shaped LPG tank in the spare wheel well, and an extra set of gas injectors to go along with the six petrol injectors. The conventional fuel filler cap was positioned on one side of the car, and the LPG filler on the other.

Ford did eventually put a 3.0-litre V6 in the Mondeo
Ford did eventually put a 3.0-litre V6 in the Mondeo

It wasn’t just a one-off show car, either: Ford is thought to have produced a handful of prototypes using a few ST200s. The car didn’t make it any further, however, and as far as we’re aware, all test mules were destroyed when the project was cancelled. Ford’s extensive heritage fleet certainly doesn’t include an ST250 or a 3.0-litre ST200, a quick call confirmed. Interestingly, one car purporting to have one of the ST250 3.0-litre prototype engines fitted popped up on eBay not so long ago.

Ford would eventually stick a 3.0-litre V6 engine in a Mondeo, but not until after the second-generation machine arrived, forming the ST220. As you’ve probably gathered from the name, it wasn’t as powerful as its concept predecessor. Nor did was it powered by LPG.

It seems a shame the ST250 never reached showrooms. Its intention to blend performance and efficiency came long before fast hybrid and electric cars were really a thing - it was ahead of its time, but thinking on different lines. And just think how temptingly cheap they’d have been on the used market by now…



Hey that’s a Top Drives car image!

Do you play Top Drives?

10/01/2018 - 16:23 |
64 | 6
GTRTURTLE 🔰 🐢(Oo \ S K Y L I N E / oO) (Koen

In reply to by Elliot.J99


10/01/2018 - 16:28 |
20 | 2

Ah, it’s a Ford UK press image! Not actually played Top Drives…

10/01/2018 - 16:35 |
42 | 0

Lol that’s the first thing I’ve realised!

And I’ve seen many articles with pictures in common with the car from top drives

10/01/2018 - 17:06 |
26 | 2

In america we got the ford contour svt which was basically the same thing except it only made around 200hp…great little cars until you had to work on them

10/01/2018 - 16:30 |
8 | 0

How is 240 absurd in 1999?
9-3 viggen, 230hp (okay, 2001, but the same 2.3)
9-5 Aero 250hp
9-5 TrollR 280hp


10/01/2018 - 18:28 |
14 | 4

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You need to think more along the lines of a Nissan Primera when it comes to the Mondeos competition.

10/01/2018 - 20:57 |
12 | 0
Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Exactly, they were known for having way too much power for their own good!

10/02/2018 - 06:55 |
2 | 0

That is correct, when someone says “economical performance” I think: munde?

10/01/2018 - 19:04 |
4 | 0

Thanks for the tag, this concept car was all new to me! :)

10/01/2018 - 20:37 |
2 | 0

I’m not lying when I said I saw a prototype one on EBay.

10/01/2018 - 19:53 |
2 | 0
brendan 7

In the mid 90’s Ford in Australia did something similar using there falcon. Called the predator it was based on the base model family car but was dedicated LPG and added a supercharger to the 157kw 4.0l inline 6cyl. Unfortunately it was not put into production

10/02/2018 - 00:28 |
6 | 0
RWB Dude

Wish they could do this in America with the Fusion

10/02/2018 - 00:53 |
2 | 0

The first generation Fusion’s most powerful engine is actually the same as the one in the ST220 and the second generation fusion sport has around 100 more horsepower than the fastest 4th generation Mondeo

LPG would be pretty nice though, as the V6 Mondeo’s had bad gas mileage

10/02/2018 - 08:25 |
0 | 0
Juan 6

Hey fix your app

10/02/2018 - 06:02 |
0 | 2

Considering the Mondeo here was basically a last gen escort in the U.S. The ST250 (or a variant of one) would have been a great car to sell in the states depending on price!

10/02/2018 - 06:19 |
0 | 0

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