WE ALREADY knew that Ford’s new Focus ST was going to be available with a diesel engine for the first time but now full details of the hot hatch, that arrives next year, have been released at the 2014 Paris motor show.
Ford says this is the most advanced Focus ST yet with new chassis control technologies, tuned suspension and steering, and new tyres that ensure an even more responsive, balanced and refined driving experience.
Ford Team RS has worked on the car’s torque vectoring control settings and the standard Focus’s Enhanced Transitional Stability (ETS) system, which predicts when a skid or loss of control might occur and intervenes by braking individual wheels. Ford says this work will improve traction and agility through corners while allowing more precise changes of direction at speed, for example in a sudden lane-change situation.
Three stability settings are available: Standard Mode, with ESC and traction control fully active; Sport Mode, in which there is no engine torque reduction from traction control and ESC systems, no ETS, and reduced ESC brake interventions; and Off Mode, which basically means you’ll understeer into a tree if you don’t have Lewis Hamilton-esque skills
Under the bonnet, the 247bhp 2-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is the liveliest of the two power options. With it, the 0-62mph sprint takes 6.5secs ‒ the same as the ST’s nemesis, the VW Golf GTI. Fuel efficiency is rated at 41.5mpg, though, which falls short of the Golf’s 47.1mpg. The Ford also can’t match the Golf for emissions, with an official CO2 rating of 159g/km compared with 139g/km for the VW.
Perhaps the diesel Focus ST will fair better. The new 2-litre TDCi diesel engine produces 182bhp and 295lb ft of torque, which is fractionally more than its direct rival, the VW Golf GTD. However, it sprints from 0-62mph in 8.1secs, 0.6secs slower than the Golf. The Ford’s 67.3mpg figure and 110g/km CO2 rating are virtually identical to the VW, though.
The new Focus ST adopts the more intuitive interior layout of the higher-spec Focus models. It includes the SYNC 2 connectivity system and a high-definition, 8in colour touchscreen, but adds the ST’s hallmark bank of three gauges displaying turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure. Other touches include a new, flat-base sports steering wheel with a soft-feel leather covered rim, a satin chrome-topped gear lever, bespoke pedals, satin chrome door grab handles and sports seats developed jointly by Ford and Recaro.
Three trim levels will be available: ST1, ST2 and ST3. ST1 seats feature grey/charcoal/anthracite black fabric. ST2 adds partial leather with base and side bolsters available in four colours (Tangerine Scream; Performance Blue; Smoke Storm or Race Red). ST3 seats have a full charcoal black leather finish.
Adaptive Front Lighting, which adjusts the intensity and angle of the Bi-Xenon HID headlamp beams according to vehicle speed, steering angle and distance to objects, as well as Cross Traffic Alert, which warns drivers reversing from parking spaces if other vehicles are about to cross their path, and Active City Stop collision avoidance are among the advanced technologies available.
The new Ford Focus ST will be available to order this autumn, with the first models scheduled to be in dealerships from early 2015. Prices will be announced closer to the on-sale date but expect them to start at around £23,000 on the road.