This is a great question and hopefully I can answer it for you. I go to church with a gentlman who raced Formula Fords and Mustangs. He did all the suspension and steering work for his teams. He has been out of it for about 4 years now, but I think his advice still stands.
I autocross my contour as well and I was about to do the D2 Coilover group buy and I asked his advice. He told me to hold onto my grand and first go for a front strut brace then subframe connectors. He told me that's the first thing he would do to all the Mustangs they raced.
He told that for the Contour, the subframe connectors would make a big difference in high speed cornering. A few days after this, the Subframe Connector group buy came out. Isn't God cool! Anyway here's why the subframe connectors help:
The contour is a front wheel drive, 4-door car. Because of this, whenever executing turns at high speeds, the car twists about the door pillars in between the front and rear doors. For example, if you make a hard left turn, the front of the car is going to twist to the left, whereas the rear of the car will twist right. This puts most of the grip load on the left front tire and rear right tire (for a left turn) and vice-versa for a right turn. This is not good (for obvious reasons) since you want all tires as planted to the ground as much as possible to get maximum grip and minimum body roll. The connectors essentially prevent this twist since they intersect the plane at which the car twists.
He told me first get the front strut bar, then the subframes, then the coilovers. I ran out of cash after the first two and a battery-relocation project I am still working on. D2 s for next year maybe...
I hope this makes sense
I personally think the shocks and springs do more on this car (as far as overal grip is concerned) than the subframe connectors would...the subframe connectors are going to make your stock suspension work harder, and may actually increase your body roll since the shock and springs will be take the full brunt of the chasis' weight transfer. steering may be more accurate but your overall weight transfer in hard conering will probably overwork your stock suspension...strut tower braces will do the same, but to a lesser degree.
-------------------- Ohsigmachi '96 GL MTX Zetec
--I don't won't to hurt you, but it's still on my list of things to do.--