Feast your eyes on the production version of the all-new Focus ST, complete with a more distinct and sporting design and, naturally, more ponies beneath the bonnet.
And surprise, surprise, there’s even a wagon version too for those dedicated ST fans that have been forced into considering a family-friendly ride. Like us, you might be wondering what happened to the sportier three-door model and though Ford is not saying anything at present, the rumour mill has been whispering about a ‘modern-day Capri’ two-door coupe version for some time now.
Billed as Ford’s first global performance car, to be sold in more than 40 countries, the new Focus ST promises “exhilarating performance, unrivalled handling and addictive sound.” All this while also being more fuel-efficient.
You see, this ST ditches the previous Volvo-sourced five-cylinder engine for Ford’s own new EcoBoost two-litre four-cylinder unit, complete with high-pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging and dual independent variable cam-timing. No mention of a Powershift dual-clutch gearbox for now, but there is a six-speed manual as standard.
While the claimed improvement in fuel consumption of about 20 percent is one thing, what really interests all of us is how much it puts out and there’s great news here too with outputs quoted at 184kW and 350Nm (up from 166kW and 320Nm). Ford also claims that abundant power and torque will be available throughout the rev range.
Those impressive figures are all good and well, but won’t we be forced to miss the distinctive off-beat growl of the previous five-pot motor? Not according to Ford, with claims that its sound engineers worked extensively on the ‘sound symposer’ to give the car an engine note that “will delight enthusiasts in the same way,” in Ford’s words.
The same should go for the handling, with the already renowned Control Blade multi-link rear suspension system, enhanced torque vectoring control that reduces understeer by braking inner wheel where necessary and stiffer shocks and springs. The car’s also been lowered by 10mm and grip is further boosted by a set of 18” alloys. Clients opting for the Performance Pack option can also set themselves apart with black alloy wheels contrasted by red brake calipers.
Even the electronic nanny decided to get a life, with more aggressive tuning of the TSC system allowing drivers to accelerate at full throttle yet still retain grip on dodgy road surfaces by counteracting the torque steer effect, and a revised ESP system putting a greater emphasis on driver enjoyment. The latter has three modes: standard, liberal and completely off.
The enjoyment engineering continues through to the steering system, with Ford’s ‘Sport Steering’ variable-ratio steering rack tuned to be less sensitive in a straight line, but with increased sensitivity around corners.
Just as the exterior of the new Focus ST has a far more distinguished an muscular design than the standard Focus, the interior also receives all the addenda you expect, including special pedals, steering wheel and gearshift as well as Recaro seats and even darker headlining trim on the pillars.