(PRWEB UK) 23 July 2012
The new ST is the sportiest model in the third-generation Focus line-up. The biggest change is the replacement of the previous Focus ST's much-loved characterful but thirsty five-cylinder Volvo petrol engine with Ford's own 2-litre turbocharged four.
This Focus ST is also the "first global performance Ford" and will be built in near-identical forms in both Europe and the US.
The ST range comprises just three models, ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3, which all share the same engine and differ only in equipment levels. Unlike the last Focus ST, this one will also be available as an estate. On-the-road prices range from £21,995 for a five-door hatchback ST-1 to £26,595 for an ST-3 estate.
The Focus ST is already on sale for delivery in September.
The ST is generously equipped, with DAB radio on all cars.
Ford's 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivers ten per cent more power than the old Volvo unit, despite dropping a cylinder and 500cc
At the same time, economy and emissions are improved by twenty per cent - combined cycle fuel consumption of 39.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 169g/km are excellent values for such a fast car
Ford has made the new engine sound almost as characterful as the old with careful tuning of the exhaust and a "sound symposer" that relays engine noise directly into the cabin
Every Focus has excellent ride and handling but the ST is sharper still
New variable ratio steering is exceptionally direct away from the straight-ahead position and contributes to the ST's agile feel
Keen pricing and generous equipment levels, including DAB radio on all cars
Five-door hatch £21,995 ST-1 gets 18-inch alloys, Recaro seats, keyless start, alarm, DAB radio, and Bluetooth, while the £23,495 ST-2 adds partial leather trim, rain sensitive wipers, and a self-dimming mirror
Range-topping ST-3 gets full leather, heated front seats, bi-xenon headlamps and LED daylight-running lights and costs £25,495
Practical new estate option available for a £1,100 premium
Subtle body mods and distinctive "double hexagon" exhaust tailpipe help the ST stand out from the crowd without looking tacky
Option packages include £575 Driver Assistance Pack (Active City Stop and other safety systems), £350 City Pack (folding mirrors and rear parking sensors and £275 ST Style Pack (18-inch grey alloys, red brake calipers etc)
The estate version costs an extra £1100 - much better looking than its predecessor
Traditional fans of previous fast Fords which advertised their performance with big spoilers and decals may find this one a little bit under-stated
Similarly, this car's subtle, civilised nature may not appeal to all sporty-minded drivers, but that also leaves room for a harder-edged RS version in future
Ford's fastest Focus may face competition for customers' money from an unlikely quarter; the Focus 1.0 EcoBoost has only half the power of the ST but for now, rave reviews for the 1.0's unusual advanced technology and cultivated but lively nature probably give owners of the two cars equal boasting rights
Quicker, more economical, great handling, and its still got bags of character. What's not to like?
The new Focus ST is a triumph. The switch to a smaller four-cylinder engine has brought much-improved performance and economy with surprisingly little loss of character compared with the old model. In a business car comparison for hot hatches, it'll stack up.
The latest ST also builds on the dynamic excellence of previous Focuses to provide high levels of driver involvement and enjoyment, while retaining high levels of practicality
Keen pricing and well-thought-out option packs and trim levels only add to the Focus ST's attractions for company car operators.