Ford has revealed its fourth generation Focus ST hatchback and estate, which will rival the likes of the VW Golf GTI, Renault Megane RS and Hyundai i30 N.
The new Focus ST has more power, new technology and selectable driver modes, for the first time.
There are a few sporty tweaks to the exterior, compared with the regular Focus. The ST gets a revised front grille, bigger rear spoiler, unique alloy wheels, bespoke Michelin Sport Pilot 4S tyres, and two exclusive colour options, Performance Blue and Orange Fury.
Inside, buyers get Recaro sports seats, metal bits around the cabin, grey stitching, and aluminium pedals. You also get the same technology as in the standard Focus, so that includes the Sync3 infotainment system, 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Ford will offer the new Focus ST with both petrol and diesel power. The petrol engine is a 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder unit with 280 horsepower. Ford has said it’s the most free-revving ST engine yet, and will do the 0-62mph run in less than 6.0 seconds – around half a second quicker than the previous model. The engine will also feature an anti-lag system, which acts as a performance aid to improve responses.
The new petrol Focus ST will also have some technology found in the more powerful Focus RS. It’s getting a limited-slip differential, albeit an electronic one. This will help the car accelerate out of corners better.
The diesel engine is a 2.0-litre unit with 190 horsepower. Compared to the original Focus ST, that’s a 10% power increase, and double the torque.
With both the petrol and the diesel engines, you’ll get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, which has a shorter throw compared to the standard Focus. If you go for the optional Performance Pack, you also get a gearshift indicator light and rev-matching technology to help with smoother downshifts. You can also get a seven-speed automatic gearbox with the petrol engine, which can be controlled with paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.
Compared to the regular Focus, the ST’s ride height is 10mm lower, with stiffer dampers front and rear. It also has improved power steering with a quicker response: you’ll only need two turns of the wheel, lock to lock. And, it’s got bigger brake pads.
For the first time, the Focus ST will come with selectable driver modes. As standard, drivers will be able to switch between normal, slippery/wet and sport. If buyers have opted for the Performance Pack, there will also be a Track Drive mode. Switching between these modes changes various aspects of the car to suit the driving scenario, such as the throttle response, automatic gearbox shift scheduling, electronic stability control, climate settings and electronic sound enhancement.
On top of all that, the new Focus ST comes with a few driver assistance technologies too, including adaptive cruise control, adaptive front lighting system, active park assist, head-up display, and evasive steering assist.
The new Ford Focus ST will arrive in UK dealerships towards the end of summer 2019. The petrol, diesel, hatchback and estate models will all be available from launch. There’s no official word on pricing yet, but it’s expected to be a little more than the outgoing model.