Considering the overall success of the previous generation Focus RS, Ford is very much capable of concocting their own formula for performance in the hot hatch segment. It’s safe to say then that they will eventually get to that trim model with the new generation, but first they will have to build upon that by first working with the front-wheel driven platform base of the Focus. That said, we can at least say that Ford is on the right path with the introduction of the all-new Focus ST.
Developed by Ford Performance, the latest Focus ST will come in either the signature 5-door hatchback body or a full-on estate/wagon model. The options don’t end with the body however, as Ford have given the choice to spec the new Focus ST with either the 280PS, 420Nm 2.3L EcoBoost inline-4 or a 190PS, 400Nm 2.0L EcoBlue diesel powerplant. The former petrol motor will come fitted with a twin-scroll turbocharger and a new party piece: anti-lag tech trickling down from the Ford GT.
In order to put those numbers down to the ground with the two front wheels, Ford have also fitted the new Focus ST with an electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) – a first for front-wheel drive applications for the Blue Oval. Supposedly this differential is clever enough to distribute power where it is needed during tight cornering conditions. Alongside that, Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) keeps the tail end in check by managing the ST’s suspension.
“Intelligent technologies like eLSD and CCD make our all-new Focus ST the most ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ yet, able to switch from refined tourer to focussed performance car at the push of a button,” said Leo Roeks, Ford Performance director in Europe. “We’ve incorporated learnings from programmes including the Ford GT and Focus RS to develop a mid-size performance car with a degree of flexibility that’s unique in its segment.”
The Focus ST can be had either with a six-speed manual gearbox or a ‘quick-shifting’ seven-speed automatic. And for the first time ever, the Focus ST will come with selectable driving modes to further tailor the vehicle towards various driving conditions.
The interior shows sporting intent by way of a pair of Recaro seats and a set of aluminum pieces like the ‘ST’ Embossed shift knob, scuff plates, and aluminum pedals. Ford’s SYNC 3 connectivity system allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple voice commands supported by an 8-inch colour touchscreen. The system provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility free of charge, and available FordPass Connect embedded modem technology turns the vehicle into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices.
Exterior colour options for the Focus ST include Ford’s signature Performance Blue and Orange Fury, alongside Frozen White, Magnetic grey, Race Red, Ruby Red and Shadow Black. Bold alloy wheel options include 18-inch Dark Sparkle and Magnetite designs, with a 19-inch wheel also offered in Magnetite.
The all-new Focus ST is expected to go on sale in Europe by Summer 2019.