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Refocused ST loses a cylinder

2010-09-15 08:06

Come 2012 the handsome second-generation Focus ST facelift will be replaced by this. Turbocharged four-cylinder power ensures an increase in performance. Mad colour schemes (tangerine orange amongst them) remain.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Ford
Model Focus ST
Engine 2l four-cylinder turbo
Power 186kW
Ford’s Focus ST is set to lose a cylinder and 500cc of swept capacity as it attempts to survive in an emissions-strangled performance car market post-2012.

The company’s popular three and five-door performance hatches have long been a favourite with petrolheads burdened by burgeoning family responsibilities.

A combination of the ST’s spacious cabin dimensions and its characteristic five-cylinder turbo engine (not to mention the neat, multi-link rear suspension-aided agility) make it the perfect family man's hot hatch.

Unsurprisingly, news of the 2.5-litre, Volvo-based engine’s demise was met with derision when announced earlier in 2010

To placate fans of the ST nameplate, Ford has released images and details of the next-generation Focus hot hatch - set to feature smaller capacity EcoBoost power and a host of detail changes, inside and out.

Subtle styling changes

Although the car Ford will display at the Paris auto show during the first weekend of October is being billed as a design study, it will essentially galvanise into a production version of the new ST – make no mistake. Styling sees a radical new nose, featuring an oversized grille - sure to be the new car's most contentious exterior detailing upgrade.

From the rear three-quarter view, the ST's most pronounced change is in the stylised tail lights which replace the Focus hatchback’s traditional thin-strip rear illumination.

A peculiar new exhaust end treatment, mounted in the centre of the bumper (featuring a twin joined-hexagon design), will probably be deleted for road-going versions of the new ST.

Although Ford is coy about engineering details of the next-generation Focus hot hatch, it promises the new car will in no way hurt the ST brand’s dynamic reputation.

Four-cylinder ST

ST traditionalists will surely miss the 2.5 five-cylinder unit, an engine that has proved eminently tuneable and which roared a rather unique acoustic signature.

Replacing it will be Ford’s new EcoBoost two-litre, four-cylinder producing 186kW – an improvement of 20kW over the current ST.

Being both smaller in capacity and featuring direct-injection, the new ST’s EcoBoost engine should ensure a 10-20% reduction in fuel consumption.

Dynamically, Ford’s excellent dry-clutch Powershift six-speed DCT transmission should become available too. This dual-pedal option should greatly enhance the ST’s appeal, especially as it has traditionally only driven via a six-speed manual transmission, great for heel-and-toeing but no fun in a heavily trafficked urban environment.

The ST showcar trimmed for its Paris motor show debut in three weeks also marks a cabin redesign (finally) sporting a new four-spoked steering wheel and improved fascia – the latter gaining a large infotainment control and display interface.

Ford’s promised its third-generation ST will go on sale in all global markets at the beginning of 2012. A break in tradition will see Ford not offering its new ST in three-door configuration come 2012.

Wheels24 will be at the Paris show to bring you the latest news - direct.


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