The quintessential hot hatch recipe of a small perky transversely mounted engine paired up to a manual transmission has always been a winning combination since the MkI Golf GTi. Many moons have passed since and one of its biggest rivals, Ford, has just introduced the new Focus ST slated for Q1 2020 and looks to be a ripper.
We kick things off with speed, and the first thing to know is that the Focus ST will drop with a six-speed manual or the optional seven speed dual-clutch transmission for the first time, Ford says. No doubt this move will do wonders for its sales figures.
The 2020 Focus ST does away with the old 2.0-litre EcoBoost mill of yesteryear and now employs a 2.3-litre EcoBoost borrowed from the Focus RS and Mustang, albeit slightly detuned for its duty here.
Once applied with 98 RON petrol, 206kW at 5500rpm and 420Nm of torque is readily on tap, making it one of the fastest STs to date. Helping achieve those figures is a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger fitted with anti-lag that works in tandem with an electronically actuated waste-gate, tuned air intake and exhaust system. An optimised intercooler helps it breathe and perform better as well.
The fast Focus comes with 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in a set of 235/35 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres that channel all that grunt to the tarmac. However, bringing this speeding mass to a halt are a pair of ventilated rotors measuring some 330mm up front and 302mm out back, assisted by an electronic brake booster improves stopping performance and fade resistance says the Blue Oval, as part of the Ford Performance Package.
The Focus ST gets a fully-independent rear suspension setup that promises better handling without sacrificing ride quality. Further chassis upgrades include stiffened dampers with the Continuously Controlled Damper system and a 10mm ride height reduction.
The electrically-assisted steering system in the ST is some 15% faster than that of the standard Focus and can go lock-to-lock in just 2 revolutions. The rack, too, is programmed with a new Steering Torque Disturbance Software in a bid to reduce torque steer while awarding better response.
On the inside, the ST ships with leather and suede-trimmed Recaro seats featuring ST logos and a stitched leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel. The interior is more spacious too thanks to a 53mm increase in wheelbase.
An 8-inch screen dishes out infotainment via SYNC3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Ford’s built-in sat-nav that’s now specifically designed to understand Australian accents for ease of use. Topping it off is a wireless charging pad and a Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker stereo.
The exterior is everything you would expect from a Focus of this magnitude. ST badges litter the rear hatch and front honeycomb grille along with LED headlights, tail lights, fog lamps, puddle lamps and DRLs. Not forgetting too, the unique front and rear bumpers, side skirts, rear spoiler and dual chrome exhaust tips that cap off the major exterior changes to the spicy ST.
The 2020 Focus ST comes certified with a 5-star ANCAP safety rating thanks in part to driver assistance tech such as Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Dynamic Stability Control just to name a few.
Ford has confirmed that the Focus ST will arrive in Australian showrooms during Q1 2020. Fully-imported from Germany, the ST will ship with a manual gearbox while the automatic cog-swapper comes as no-cost option. It’s available in Ford Performance Blue, Orange Fury, Frozen White, Magnetic (grey), Race Red, Ruby Red and Shadow Black.
- 2020 Ford Focus ST (6MT) - $44,690
- 2020 Ford Focus ST (7AT) - $44,690