Ford will make the new Focus ST more aggressive both in terms of styling and performance when it arrives in 2012.
The new ST will use a retuned version of Ford’s 4-cylinder, turbocharged, EcoBoost engine which will give it 247bhp. This puts it ahead of the previous model, which had 223bhp, and brings it level with Renaultsport’s Megane 250. However, it will be topped by Vauxhall/Opel’s new performance Astra which will have 280bhp+.
There are no details yet about the car’s transmission, however, a six-speed manual and a new version of Ford’s dual-clutch Powershift gearbox are likely to be offered.
Feedback from current ST owners has led Ford to go more aggressive with the new car’s styling. Deep air intakes, side skirts, a roof spoiler, central exhausts and a huge front grille single the ST out from the standard Focus on the outside.
“The new Focus ST is more of an overt performance car than its predecessor in response to customer feedback. We knew that the Focus ST customer wanted something less subtle than the standard design, with a more sporty feel.” Ford’s head of design, Martin Smith, told Autocar.
There are currently no plans for a three-door ST, however, it will be available as an estate, and in mainland Europe, as a saloon.
On the inside there are sports seats with body coloured inserts, a deeply inset rev-counter and speedometer, a carbon fibre finished fascia, a ‘stitched leather’ dashboard top and, as a reference to the previous model, three dials (most likely oil pressure, turbo boost and battery charge) set between the dash and the windscreen.
A new RS is also currently under development, possibly with a new system whereby the front wheels are driven by the engine while a small amount of power also drives the rear wheels via an electric motor. The system is rumoured to have been tested already but is some way from completion.
With the RS not due for release until 2013 at the earliest, the ST will be the fastest new generation Focus for at least a year once it goes on sale in 2012 at what are expected to be similar prices to the outgoing car.
The Focus ST’s public debut will be at the upcoming Paris Motor Show at the end of the month.