CAN YOU have a sensible hot hatch? It’s the question Ford is about to answer with the launch of its first diesel-powered performance Focus. Since the heady days of the 1970s and mullet hairstyles, fast Fords have attracted drivers who prefer the handbrake turn to the three-point version. But with the launch of the revised Ford Focus ST the company is reflecting the times and going green with a model that is as frugal as it is fast.
The new ST TDCI can get as many as 64.2 miles from a gallon of diesel. It means that the car — which emits 114g/km of CO2 and so costs just £30 annually to tax after a free first year — is a hot hatch that could be run by even the most cost-conscious motorist.
Unveiled at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the new sporty diesel will be sold alongside the existing petrol ST. It uses a 2-litre TDCI unit that has been developed from the powertrain of the humble Focus family hatchback, with new calibration for the engine and turbocharger, an improved air intake system and an uprated sports exhaust.
The result raises power from 148bhp to 182bhp; more significantly, the engine’s torque — a better indication of how freely it will accelerate low in the rev range — is now 295 lb ft at 2000rpm.
The ST TDCI can certainly get a move on: Ford claims the car accelerates from standstill to 62mph in 8.1 seconds and has a top speed of 135mph. The fuel economy and sporty performance lag just fractionally behind those of Volkswagen’s popular Golf GTD.
Ford’s engineers have also taken the opportunity to make changes to the ST’s steering, suspension and electronic driver aids, with the intention of ensuring that regardless of whether drivers choose to buy a diesel or petrol model, they’ll enjoy the ride.
1997cc, 4 cylinders
182bhp @ 3500rpm
295 lb ft @ 2000rpm