Most powerful Focus ST yet gets clever, driver-focused tech and a sportier edge

The new Ford Focus ST will offer “the most responsive and agile Focus ST driving experience ever, on road and track”, according to the car maker, thanks to the model’s new C2 platform. 

On sale in the summer, this latest Focus ST is offered as a five-door hatch or estate, in petrol or diesel variants, and with a host of new technology derived from halo models such as the Ford GT supercar and the Mustang

It is the first front-wheel-drive Ford to get an electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD), intended to enhance cornering stability. Rev-matching technology is available with the six-speed manual gearbox. A seven-speed automatic is also available. 

Selectable drive modes are another first for the Focus ST. They comprise Slippery/Wet, Normal and Sport, plus a Track mode for versions equipped with the Performance pack. The drive modes adjust various parameters, including the ST’s electric steering, which is Ford’s fastest yet and 15% faster than a standard Focus’s. 

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There is also continuously controlled damping (CCD), standard on five-door petrol variants, which monitors suspension, steering and braking inputs to adjust damping responses every two milliseconds and promises “ultimate refinement”. 

Leo Roeks, Ford Performance boss in Europe, said: “Technologies like eLSD and CCD make the Focus ST the most ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ yet, able to switch from refined tourer to focused performance car at the push of a button. 

“We’ve incorporated learnings from programmes including the Ford GT and Focus RS to develop a mid-size performance car with a degree of flexibility that’s unique in its segment.” 

The petrol Focus ST, using Ford’s 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine, is the most powerful yet offered in an ST. It delivers 276bhp at 5500rpm and 310lb ft from 3000rpm to 4000rpm. It is also claimed to be the most free-revving Focus ST engine yet. The benchmark sprint of 0-62mph is said to take less than 6.0sec, making it at least 0.5sec quicker than the outgoing equivalent model. 

Anti-lag technology, developed for the GT supercar originally, is intended to provide immediate power delivery in Sport and Track drive modes. The tech keeps the throttle open slightly when the driver comes off the accelerator, easing the reversal of airflow and allowing boost pressure to build faster on demand. 

Meanwhile, the diesel ST, with its 187bhp 2.0-litre Ecoblue motor, has the most powerful diesel engine yet offered on a Focus. It delivers peak power at 3500rpm and 295lb ft between 2000rpm and 3000rpm. The model produces 10% more power than and over twice as much torque as the original ST170.

Ford says the ST’s six-speed manual transmission aids “more urgent gearchanges and… a sportier feel”, thanks to a shift-throw reduction of 7% compared with the standard Focus. Revmatching technology, first seen on the Mustang, is also introduced as part of the optional Performance pack for Ecoboost manual models. 

While the petrol-powered Focus ST receives Ford’s new electronic limited-slip differential, the diesel Focus gets torque vectoring control technology, which reduces understeer by applying brake force to the inside front wheel when cornering. 

Exterior tweaks over the standard model are subtle: there are unique alloy wheels, a revised grille for increased cooling and changes to the low wing and air curtains to improve aerodynamics. At the rear, there is a spoiler and twin tailpipes. The Performance pack adds red brake calipers. 

Inside, the Focus ST receives Recaro front seats, a sports steering wheel and a host of ST-embossed features, and engine and exhaust noise is amplified in Sport and Track modes. 

Pricing has not been released but the model is expected to start from around £28,000.

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Ford Focus ST review​

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18 February 2019

an A class in disguise?

Certainly looks a bit more ‘up market’ to me.

18 February 2019
Looks great. Maybe the best looking hatch on the market, at least until the new 3 drops. Nice amount of power, nice features, and the price isn't obscene. I think it will be a hit.

18 February 2019

The best looking Focus yet and the basic car has looked much better in the flesh compared to the photos so this is going to look great on the road. That noise you can hear in the background is anyone who actually parted with their own money for an i30N crying softly an the corner.

18 February 2019

It is beginning to get some style...

It looks ok for performance and definately getting better as a car. Interior could do with some work, especially if it is rivalling merc a-class. Love the new shape though.

18 February 2019

It wont be rivalling the A-Class, it wouldnt keep up with the new A35 AMG - however it is supposed to be in just underneath that (a larger Fiesta for grown ups!) It is definetly a hot new look for the exterior very 1 Series-esque.

18 February 2019

Exterior excellent, inside not quite there but acceptable bearing in mind how good the mechcanical spec is.

Oh and what a relieve to have something other than a stressed 1.6 3 or 2.0 4 pot.

Whilst no GTi is available Ford will make hay while the sun shines, nice one!


typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

18 February 2019

It doesnt need a 2.3 litre engine; the previous 2.0 litre was more than enough - for what the car is! But it has tuning potential which is good! 

19 February 2019
ThatsHowTheMercedesBends wrote:

It doesnt need a 2.3 litre engine; the previous 2.0 litre was more than enough - for what the car is! But it has tuning potential which is good! 

Obviously Ford and others think otherwise, no replacement for displacement

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

18 February 2019

It is a good looking car from the outside. The inside is very plain, but probably OK to live with. Shame that Ford didnt follow Renault and re-introduce a proper hand brake for their sporty model. I love that it will come as an Estate too, hopefully without compulsory 'ugly kid' glass.

18 February 2019

It looks good, but there isn't much to differentiate it from an ST-Line model. Personally I quite like the understated approach and it leaves room for a more extrovert RS model but I'm not sure I want my 276bhp hatch looking that similar to a 125bhp 1.0 ecoboost model.


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