It is an indication of the importance of the Festival of Speed in the global motor sport calendar that an increasing number of manufacturers are choosing to launch new and updated vehicles at the Festival. Today was the turn of the revised Ford Focus ST, one of the worlds most popular hot hatches, with more than 140,000 Focus ST models sold into 40 countries worldwide since the car was first launched in 2002.
The car features a raft of detail improvements, all aimed at refining what was already an impressive – and well-priced car, as well as maintaining competitive equipment levels against the likes of the Golf GTI. Echoing previous Ford ST models, a diesel engine option has also been introduced, resulting in what Ford claim to be the most fuel-efficient and lowest he most advanced Focus ST yet offers new chassis control technologies, tuned suspension and steering, and bespoke tyre specification that ensure an even more responsive, balanced and refined driving experience. And for the first time, it will be offered with the choice to two powerful engines – one petrol and diesel.
The first diesel Focus ST takes day-to-day usability and sportiness to a new level by delivering the most fuel‑efficient and lowest CO2 Ford performance car ever: the 185PS 2.0‑litre TDCi achieves 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds, 64.2 mpg and 114 g/km CO2. Peak power is developed at 3,500 rpm and there is an impressive 400Nm of torque available from 2,000-2,750 rpm, enabling the new Focus ST diesel to achieve a claimed maximum speed of 135mph.
ST’s 250PS 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine has also been tweaked, and now delivers 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, fuel efficiency of 41.5 mpg and 158 g/km CO2. Peak power is available at 5,500 rpm, with 360Nm of torque being available from 2,000-4,500 rpm, and maximum speed is 154mph. Both petrol & diesel models offer Auto-Start-Stop for the first time that improves the EcoBoost version’s fuel efficiency by 6 per cent and help make it the most fuel-efficient petrol Focus ST ever.
The sports suspension features all-new front springs and sportier new shock absorber tuning front and rear. In combination with the model-specific anti-roll bars and rear springs from the previous generation ST; these enhancements deliver an even sharper dynamic performance.
The calibration of the Electronic Power Assisted Steering and electronic vehicle control systems also has been revised to deliver a quicker steering response, an advanced three-stage Electronic Stability Programme which senses vehicle stability and driver inputs, intervening as required to maintain optimal precision and control during rapid changes of direction at speed, and revised Electronic Torque Vectoring Control settings that further optimise wheel torque distribution, maximizing traction through corners.
Power delivery refinement under hard acceleration – particularly front wheel traction and gear shift quality – is also assisted by engine mounts engineered specifically to accommodate the performance of the new Focus ST. Additionally, Ford have worked with Michelin to develop a new 19-inch tyre that complements the driving dynamics, especially maximising lateral grip.
Both engines use a six-speed manual transmission with a performance-oriented, short-throw shift. The gear ratios – exclusive to ST and matched individually to each engine – deliver rapid acceleration in lower gears and comfortable cruising at speed.
The new Focus ST features sportier and more aggressive styling than the previous generation, with the signature honeycomb upper grille now reproportioned, a revised, sculpted, bonnet, slimmer headlamps and rectangular foglamps.
A couple of new exterior colours are also available, including a dark grey colour called Stealth, and a Deep Impact Blue. These join the existing colours of Tangerine Scream, Frozen White, Panther Black and Race Red.
The ST interior has been redesigned to make it simpler, with a clearer visual connection between the key components and significantly fewer buttons in the cabin. The signature ST additional bank of three gauges is again situated on the instrument binnacle and displays turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure information. A new, flat-base sports steering wheel with a soft-feel leather covered rim is now standard, whilst a number of new driver assistance, convenience and connectivity technologies being introduced include the Ford SYNC 2 connectivity system which offers access to audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones using class-leading voice control and a high-definition, 8-inch colour touchscreen with voice control.
Adaptive Front Lighting is made available for the first time on the ST, adjusting the intensity and angle of the Bi-Xenon HID headlamp beams according to vehicle speed, steering angle and distance to objects to provide optimal illumination.
Cross Traffic Alert also is a new addition for Focus ST, and warns drivers reversing from parking spaces if other vehicles are about to cross their path. Ford’s enhanced Active City Stop collision avoidance system – now operative at speeds of up to 31mph – readies the brakes if a potential impact is detected and – if the driver does not respond – will automatically apply the brakes.
Lane Keeping Aid applies steering torque to guide the car back in to lane if drifting is detected.
Available to order in Europe from autumn 2014, the new Focus ST will be available in ST1, ST2 and ST3 trim levels. The first cars models are scheduled to be in dealerships from early 2015. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.