Ford's erstwhile hero in the Focus small car range, the XR5 Turbo, has a successor at last - and it wears the badge the XR5 has long worn in the European market.
Yes, the new Focus ST is here at last, a full year after its overseas debut and not a moment too soon.
Priced at $38,290, the ST will initially face off the likes of Renault's tough Megane RS 265, the ageing Mazda3 MPS, the similarly vintage Golf GTI, and its Scirocco R cousin. Next year, it will also battle Opel's Astra OPC.
For buyers, the new Focus ST promises Scirocco R power, at a price point nearly $10,000 below the manual-equipped VW.
“Keen Australian drivers have a real love of the ‘hot hatch’ genre,” Ford Australia's David Katic said.
“Focus XR5 and Focus RS were tremendously successful vehicles for Ford Australia and carved out a cult following. The Focus ST not only continues this tradition of hot hatches from Ford, but takes it to a new level.”
Powered by Ford's 2.0 litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine, the German-built Focus ST delivers 184kW and 340Nm of torque - up to 360Nm with the Overboost function in play.
Compared to its Australian-delivered XR5 Turbo predecessor, that's an additional 20kW of power and 40Nm of twist. And, compared to the Scirocco R, it's a few killerwasps less, but 20Nm more torque.
Available in five-door form only (although a wagon exists overseas), the Focus ST is matched exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, with power sent to the front wheels.
Local performance figures have (still) not been released, although overseas data lists a 0-100km/h time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 248km/h. Fuel consumption is listed at 7.4 l/100km.
The EcoBoost engine not only brings more power to the table, it is also lighter and less thirsty than its predecessor, making the new model a stronger proposition as a 'daily driver'.
The new Focus ST hot-hatch will also be fitted with a computer-controlled overboost feature.
Operating as an on-demand feature, the system allows the turbo to spin faster for up to 15 seconds, delivering a 7.4 percent boost in power between 3000 and 4500 rpm.
Helping the Focus ST get power usefully to the ground, Ford's Electronic Power Assisted Steering is utilised, detecting and countering torque steer.
There's also Dynamic Stability Control with three distinct settings, and Torque Vectoring Control, the latter applying brake torque to the inner wheel through corners to reduce under steer.
Ford says its Cornering Under Steer Control also works to create yaw torque based on the vehicle’s under-steer behavior before DSC kicks in, both in power-on and power-off conditions.
The sports suspension package includes uprated shock absorbers and springs, lowering the car by 10mm compared to regular Focus models.
The rear suspension has also been given a going-over, with uprated suspension knuckles and a new anti-roll bar design.
Standout features for the new Focus ST includes partial leather Recaro seats with cloth inserts matched to the exterior colour, and dual zone climate control.
There is also a Thatcham alarm, an ST rear spoiler, automatic Bi-Xenon HID headlamps, auto-dimming rear view mirror and rain sensing wipers as standard.
Ford has also developed a newly enhanced 'sound symposer' system (listen to it here) that relays the engine sound from the intake, into the cabin.
Full feature list:
- Recaro performance seats (partial leather colour matched to exterior of car), Recaro rear bench
- Deflation Detection System (tyre pressure sensors)
- Front and rear ST floormats
- Unique ST leather gear knob, front door scuff plate, sports pedals
- Dual zone automatic climate control
- Instrument panel cluster binnacle (oil pressure, oil temperature, boost
- pressure), variable dimming cluster
- Ford SYNC with satellite navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity
- Bluetooth®‡ music streaming
- 9-speaker Sony Audio System (5-inch TFT display)
- Keyless entry, keyless start
- Power windows with auto/global close
- Power door mirrors with automatic folding function and approach lighting
- Bi-Xenon lamps with chrome headlamp background
- Rain-sensing front wipers, automatic headlights
- Auto-dimming rear view mirror
- Black woven headliner
- Ambient lighting - interior w/ unique LED
- Sunvisor - driver and passenger illuminated
Safety features include full-size driver and passenger airbags, side curtains for front and second rows, side thorax airbags for front row.
There is also anti-lock brakes, switchable dynamic stability control, and Corner Under Steer Control.
Available now, the Focus ST is priced $38,290, plus on-road costs.
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