The previous-generation Ford Focus ST was a polarising car. Some humans loved its gargling engine notice and pin-sharp steering (I’m in that camp) however simply as many didn’t get on with its penchant for torque-steer, loud styling, and challenging experience quality.
Now, following the launch of the new Ford Focus Mk4 in 2018, comes an all-new ST. CAR traveled to Ford’s Lommel proving ground in Belgium for an early seem at the new ST, and a passenger ride.
Ford Focus ST 2019: what’s new?
Let’s start below the bonnet, with the most effective engine yet fitted to a Focus ST.
While the previous petrol ST had a 2.0-liter engine, the new automobile makes use of a retuned version of the 2.3-liter four-cylinder Ecoboost engine used in these days retired Focus RS.
It gives 276bhp and 310lb ft (compared with 247bhp and 266lb feet in the previous petrol ST, so it’s a massive jump). Anti-lag is new for the Focus ST, too.
The simply huge news is the introduction of each an electronically controlled limited-slip differential (e-LSD for short) and electronically managed adaptive dampers (CCD in Ford-speak, for Continuously Controlled Dampers).
How fast is the new Ford Focus ST?
According to Ford Performance ‘s European boss Leo Roeks, the front-drive ST has mid-range in-gear acceleration quicker than the AWD Focus RS, thanks to lighter weight and extraordinary tools ratios, with comparable quarter-mile times.
Zero to 62mph comes up in 5.7sec, eight tenths faster than the old ST.
Is there nonetheless a diesel? And a property version?
Yes to both.
The diesel is a 2.0-liter with 187bhp and 295lb ft. While the petrol ST gets a choice of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed auto gearbox with paddle shift (although not till later in 2019), the diesel is a guide only – which appears abnormal on the face of it, given its referred to remit as the easier-going, big-miles alternative in the range.
The guide gearbox has a 7% shorter throw than the preceding ST’s already snappy shift, and aspects a flat-shift capability – smoothing and retaining the engine’s torque shipping if you keep your foot in while changing up (although not encouraged for each and every upshift…) – and computerized rev-matching on downshifts in cars geared up with the elective Performance Pack.
The Estate model is now not outfitted with the adaptive dampers – they don’t healthy in with the architecture of its rear deck – however, does get its own specific tuning for its rear suspension to provide the exceptional mix of agility while loaded and unloaded.
What’s it like inside?
Generally quite demure, with a light smattering of ST badges on the flat-bottomed guidance wheel and on the Recaro seats’ backrests to remind you it’s a hot hatch, along with some fake carbon trim pieces similar to those of the Fiesta ST.
The eight-way adjustable Recaros, trimmed in material as popular or leather as an option, are thankfully a bit less overly bolstered than these of the Fiesta ST and the preceding Focus ST, with wider space across the shoulders and around the waist so they don’t pinch you pretty so mercilessly. The base’s facet bolsters still take some clambering over however basic they’re more cozy and practical than before.
And on the move?
From the passenger seat, driven at tempo around Lommel’s legendary Track 7 handling circuit with the aid of powertrain engineer Stuart Williams, the Focus’s acceleration sincerely feels as quick as Ford’s figures suggest. It stops well, too. The brakes have been made greater and greater than previously, with 330mm/302mm discs front/rear, performance pads, and a digital brake booster, constantly adjusting to preserve the pedal’s bite when the brakes begin getting warm to maintain brake sense consistently. With less weight to haul, Ford claims the ST stops better than the Focus RS.
A quick left-hander on Track 7 is blanketed in brutally bumpy cobbles, and in its well-known driving mode the ST’s suspension is remarkably composed over them – genuinely extra so than a bone-shaking Fiesta ST would be, thanks to the Focus’s adaptive dampers. two
As standard, the dampers have one pre-set mode, however, if buyers choose for the extra-cost Performance Pack they have three pre-set modes to choose from, Normal, Sport, and Track.
(The Pack also provides computerized rev-matching on downshifts, and launch manage as nicely as beauty tweaks in the form of red brake calipers and multi-colored indoors ambient lighting.)
The difference in damping switching via the modes is like night and day. On Lommel’s ‘Route 14’ – a tortuously bumpy winding path modeled to replicate actual B-roads from one of a kind components of the UK, in their gnarliest structure – the suspension is honestly serene in Normal mode, but a way more impregnable in Sport and Race.
Back on Track 7, there’s a large distinction in coping with too. When they take a look at driver lifts their foot from the throttle mid-corner in Normal mode, the ESC system subtly prevents any kind of waywardness, retaining the vehicle totally underneath control.
In Race, the Focus pivots neatly into oversteer, aided by the electronic settings for the steadiness control, dampers, and diff – but the impression, from the passenger seat at least, is that it stays secure and controllable.
Likewise, there’s a large difference in the way the auto sounds, with masses of pops and crackles on the overrun in Sport. As is turning into fashionable practice all through the overall performance automobile industry, the engine’s sound is more suitable the use of the car’s speaker system, taking the herbal frequencies of its engine to be aware and amplifying them – bassier at low revs, with a more aggressive facet at higher revs.
Ford says the preceding ST’s tendency to torque-steer has been decreased through a machine linked to each the e-LSD and the electric power guidance which applies counter-torque (not counter-steering) to keep the steering calm under power. It’s a gadget already current in the Fiesta ST which works well. We’ll need to get in the back of the wheel to be aware of for certain how it feels in the Focus ST.
Also, like the Fiesta, the Focus ST has an extremely quick steerage rack – even faster, in fact at two turns lock-to-lock. But with a longer wheelbase than the Fiesta, the normal response is said to be comparable.
How a good deal is the new Ford Focus ST?
At launch, the diesel five-door starts offevolved at £29,495, extending to £31,995 for the petrol.
The estate version is £30,595 and £33,095 for the diesel and petrol variations repectively.
Auto expenditures will be proven later this year. two
That’s quite a toppy price, mainly when the harder-core but tremendous Honda Civic Type R starts at a few hundred kilos much less at the time of writing, and the additionally incredible Renault Megane R.S. and Hyundai i30 N begin from a few thousand kilos less. Ford’s protection is that there’s no ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3 grades now, so the popular automobile if truth be told comes in completely loaded, range-topping trim.
One subjective question is whether or not the Focus ST looks dramatic ample to turn consumers heads. Although there’s a very vibrant ‘Orange Fury’ launch color, in extra everyday shades the Focus looks highly demure, definitely extra so than previous Fast Fords – both a proper element or a terrible thing relying on your factor of view.
New Ford Focus ST: early verdict
On the basis of this first acquaintance, the Focus feels extremely well-rounded as a day-to-day automobile as properly as a potentially interesting one on the right road. It feels more a rival for well-rounded mid-size hot hatches such as the Golf GTI and the Sport-chassis outfitted Megane R.S. than the targeted Cup-spec version or the super hatch-baiting Civic Type R, but on the foundation of this first ride the Focus should be satisfied adequate to rival the former whilst being quick enough to bother the latter too.
Price when new : £29,495
On sale in the UK: September
Engine: 2261cc 16v 4-cyl turbocharged, 276bhp @ 5500rpm, 310lb toes @ 3000-4000rpm (petrol version)
Transmission: Six-speed auto, e-LSD, front-wheel drive
Performance: 5.7sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 35.8mpg, 179g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1508kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4388/1979/1458mm