Ford has taken the wraps off its new Focus ST, with the latest version of the C-segment hot hatch powered by a turbocharged 2,3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.
Interestingly, buyers will now be offered a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a new seven-speed automatic transmission.
Question is, will it come to South Africa (considering the new Fiesta ST is not destined for local shores)? Well, while Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa refused to confirm or deny, it also didn’t rule out the possibility. Make of that what you will...
In new Focus ST guise, the 2,3-litre EcoBoost mill – which Ford describes as a “new generation” of the engine already used in the four-pot Mustang and previous Focus RS – makes 206 kW and at 5 500 r/min and 420 N.m between 3 000 and 4 000 r/min. Billed as the “most free-revving Focus ST engine ever”, Ford says it will offer a zero to 100 km/h time of “less than 6 seconds” (for the record, the 184 kW/360 N.m 2,0-litre engine in the outgoing Focus ST allowed a claimed time of 6,5 seconds).
The new engine employs a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger (with an anti-lag function), a new exhaust system (reducing back pressure), a bespoke air intake system and an optimised intercooler.
The five-door, front-wheel-drive hatchback gains model-specific suspension and braking systems, which the Blue Oval brand says makes for the “most responsive and agile Focus ST driving experience ever”. An electronic limited-slip differential is also included.
An optional Performance Pack adds a "Track" setting for the various drive modes, along with continuously controlled damping, launch control, red brake callipers and rev-matching tech for the manual cog-swapper. In terms of braking, front disc dimensions have grown to 330 mm x 27 mm and feature dual-piston callipers, while rear discs now measure 302 mm x 11 mm.
Inside, the signature Focus ST gauge cluster has been retained, albeit with a “contemporary execution inspired by the Ford GT”. Digital turbocharger boost pressure, oil pressure and oil temperature gauges are now displayed in a bespoke screen on the 4,2-inch, TFT colour instrument display. Recaro front seats are also present and correct.
In Europe, Ford will also offer a 2,0-litre EcoBlue turbodiesel ST-badged version, sending 140 kW and 360 N.m to the front wheels.