Despite the new model looking more like a Mazda 3 than something with a Ford badge, this new ST is looking to be yet another great hot hatch from the Blue Oval. It’s inline-four, turbocharged engine boasts 267bhp, and power is controlled by a new trick electronically-controlled front differential. Its suspension has clever electronic dampers, and it has auto rev-matching if you so wish, too.
This baby, sporty Focus sits inline with the spec given to the Korean and Bierman-made Hyundai i30N, which was a very pleasing beast. But unlike the Hyundai, which is quite simplistic in nature, the ST is another example of the ever-growing range of technology fuelled hot hatches on the market. It does however allow for a more powerful Focus RS to fill a gap further up in Ford’s product range.
Both a petrol and diesel engine choice can be specced for the new ST, with the E-diff coming as standard for the petrol option. And if you’re in the mood to make some noise, it comes with an anti-lag system system to spool the turbo faster while your foot’s off the throttle. This ‘new generation’ 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine also produces 310lb ft of torque alongside the almost 300bhp, and is able to propel the car to 62mph in ‘under 6 seconds’. Choose the diesel option and you won’t get the fancy diff, with it instead being a torque vectoring system. But you’ll still get a more than adequate 187bhp and 295lb ft of torque.
This new ST seems to want to look after you more than you’d like. The dampers assess body roll and steering inputs every two milliseconds, and the rev-match is more than happy to take over your downshifting. And if a manual still isn’t your thing, then you can spec the 7-speed automatic over the 6-speed manual instead. Why you’d want to do that, I don’t know, but the option is there.
Behind those 18-inch (or 19-inch optional) wheels sit four large brake rotors – 330mm at the front and 302mm at the rear. And again, the car is more than happy to give you a helping hand via an electronic brake servo which keeps brake-pedal feel more consistent. Wrapped around the wheels on every model, you’ll find some Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres which will give you plenty of grip to tear up the local backroads.
Pricing is yet to be revealed, but I would assume it’s going to be on the higher end of the scale. This simply reflects hand-holding ability of the car, something that I’m personally not too fond of, but I’ll make my final verdict after I drive it.