Ferocious Focus ST here by yearendComment on this story
The ST fan club can just about start counting the sleeps until their new weapon of choice screeches onto South African showroom floors.
Ford SA has just announced that the new ST will go on sale here during the fourth quarter of this year.
This latest performance flagship takes a leap into the modern age, not only by moving onto the latest, third-generation Focus platform but also by embracing the engine downsizing trend for the sake of efficiency.
This move sees it ditch the current (Volvo-designed) five-cylinder turbopetrol unit for a 2-litre version of Ford's brand new EcoBoost turbopetrol family. The thoroughly modern new engine boasts high-pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbo charging and dual independent variable cam timing.
Ford claims to have improved fuel economy by around 20 percent, but the big sigh of relief for ST fans is that the outputs have been increased from 166kW and 320Nm to 184kW and 350Nm.
But while the prospect of swopping the old model's off-beat five-cylinder gurgle for a four-cylinder hum might seem something of a turn-off, Ford does promise that its sound engineers have worked it in such a way that will “delight enthusiasts in the same way.”
As before, power is channelled through to the front wheels by a six-speed manual gearbox and you can expect an improvement in handling too, thanks to an enhanced torque vectoring control system that reduces understeer by braking the inner wheel when necessary.
Ford's renowned Control Blade fully independent rear suspension remains in place and naturally the ST boasts stiffer suspension that's also been lowered by 10mm, while 18-inch alloys make a further contribution to the grip situation.
Furthermore, the ST boasts an even more distinctive design than its predecessor, with its enlarged honeycomb front grille making it look nothing like the regular Focus models from the front and there's a new range of colours, of which Tangerine Scream is the new signature colour. Other hues include Spirit Blue, Race Red, Panther Black, Frozen White and Moondust silver.
Pricing and final specification will be confirmed when the new ST goes on sale here in November. Start counting those sleeps.