The new-generation Ford Focus ST, developed under the leadership of Ford Performance, brings to Australia and New Zealand the most advanced, capable Focus ST to date with more power, technology and choice. Based on the new-generation Focus’ C2 platform, the Focus ST brings an automatic variant for the first time, as well as the traditional enthusiast-focussed six-speed manual with rev-matching. In addition to expanded Selectable Drive Modes, there’s new technology including Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD), an electronic Limited Slip Differential (eLSD), and 2.3L turbocharged engine.
Kay Hart, President and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand, said the Focus ST joins the Fiesta ST for 2020, offering a full suite of Ford Performance hot hatches for local enthusiasts. “Both bring new technology, with the Focus ST building on the innovation and tech leadership of the new-generation Focus, delivering a highly capable and livable performance hatch.”
The Focus ST will be fully-imported from Germany, and will be on sale in Australia in 2020 with an MLP of $44,6901 for the 6-speed manual. A 7-speed paddle-shift automatic is offered as a no-cost-option, with the ST taking the advanced C2 platform of the new Focus, introduced to Australia in late 2018, as a foundation to offer greater cabin space, cargo capacity as well as dynamic capability based upon a platform that delivers a 20 per cent increase in torsional rigidity over the outgoing model.
Leo Roeks, Ford Performance director, Europe said intelligent technologies like eLSD and CCD make the new-generation Focus ST the most ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ yet, able to switch from refined tourer to focussed performance car at the push of a button. “We’ve incorporated learnings from programs including our Ford GT supercar and the acclaimed Focus RS to develop a mid-size performance car with a degree of flexibility that’s unique in its segment.”
The Focus ST’s features both inside and out are designed to showcase its performance intent from any angle, building on the new-generation Focus’ core elements to deliver a Ford Performance optimised package.
An aggressive stance is achieved with 19-inch machined alloy wheels, fitted with 235/35 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, as standard, with suspension that lowers ride height by 10mm over the standard Focus model. The Focus ST’s larger front and rear brake components are clearly visible, standing out with red brake calipers that clamp larger 330mm front and 302mm rear ventilated discs. A new electronic brake booster improves brake pedal feel, while braking performance was verified using the same demanding test procedures as the Ford GT supercar, and saw almost four-times the fade resistance performance of the previous generation Focus ST in testing.
The Focus ST also boasts a honeycomb front grille, with LED headlight and taillights featuring LED Daytime Running Lights and for a signature look, with unique front and rear bumpers incorporating LED fog lamps and sculpted side-skirts producing a muscular look. An integrated spoiler caps off the major exterior changes on the ST’s hatch. Details include dual chrome exhaust tips, rear privacy glass as well as heated power-folding exterior mirrors with puddle lamps.
There’s also unique ST badging in the front grille and rear hatch, exterior colour options chosen to emphasise the Focus ST’s dynamic styling including exclusive Ford Performance Blue and Orange Fury, alongside Frozen White, Magnetic (grey), Race Red, Ruby Red and Shadow Black2.
The heated Recaro sports seats are trimmed in leather and suede, with larger bolsters for improved lateral support during cornering, and feature ST logos, with lumbar support on the driver’s seat. Interior space is improved for the new-generation Focus ST, thanks to a 53mm increase in wheelbase, with greater occupant space in both front and second rows for greater comfort and convenience.
Ford Performance instrumentation is standard, as are aluminium pedals that are matched to a chrome gear-lever for the six-speed manual, while the automatic Focus ST takes advantage of the new-generation e-shifter, which liberates space while enabling a cleaner console look. An electronic park brake also enhances space and interior sophistication for either transmission choice, while a flat-bottom heated ST steering wheel, wrapped in perforated leather, houses audio and SYNC 3 controls while delivering a premium feel and engagement for the driver.
SYNC 33 as standard is another feature that brings livability and technology to the Focus ST. This includes a high-definition 8.0-inch touchscreen display, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone capability4. Functions, including Siri, can be accessed via the steering-wheel mounted voice activation controls, with capabilities including voice-activated text messaging. In addition, the Focus ST’s standard built-in sat-nav can also be accessed by voice-command, with the system specially engineered to comprehend Australian accents.
The Focus ST also features wireless smartphone charging as standard, with technology including keyless entry and push-button engine start, ambient LED lighting and dual-zone climate control.
A five-star ANCAP rating was awarded to the new-generation Focus line-up in 2019, with the standardisation of the Driver Assist Technology (DAT)5 praised by ANCAP CEO James Goodwin. The Focus ST includes a full suite of safety and DAT as standard, including:
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Cyclist and Pedestrian Detectioniv
Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert
Lane Departure Warning
Lane Keep Assist
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
Hill Launch Assist
180-degree full-colour, high-definition rear-view camera
Dynamic Stability Control
Driver, Driver’s side, Passenger Side and full curtain airbags
Auto high-beam headlights
LED Daytime Running Lights
Focus ST: Focus RS-developed powertrain
The new all-aluminium 2.3-litre, turbocharged powertrain is the most potent ever offered in a Focus ST. Using advanced turbocharging technology to deliver 206kW6of power at 5,500 rpm – an increase of 22kW over the outgoing Focus ST – and a significant jump in torque, from 360Nm previously to 420Nmv, it is also the most free-revving Focus ST engine ever.
Engine response is enhanced using a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger, which scavenges exhaust gas energy more effectively using separated channels to minimise interference between gas pulses. An electronically actuated waste-gate allows closer control of boost pressures for optimised engine performance. In addition, a unique exhaust system that reduces back pressure, bespoke air intake system and optimised intercooler further improve breathing.
Innovative anti-lag technology developed for the Ford GT supercar and F-150 Raptor pick-up is introduced to the Focus ST, for immediate power delivery in Sport and Track Drive Modes. Anti‑lag keeps the throttle open when the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal, alleviating the reversal of air flow from the turbocharger to maintain compressor wheel speed and enabling boost pressure to build faster on demand.
The Focus ST’s six-speed manual transmission enables more urgent gear-changes and provides a sportier feel with a shift-throw reduction of seven per cent compared with the standard all-new Focus. Ford’s rev-matching technology that debuted on the new Ford Mustang is standard for manual models.
Delivering smoother, faster downshifts, the technology is accompanied by a shift indicator light, and uses the engine’s electronic control system to briefly ‘blip’ the throttle as the driver engages a lower gear – matching the engine rotation speed to that of the gear that is being selected. Rev-matching enables less-experienced performance drivers to benefit from the seamless, momentum-maintaining gearshifts delivered by the heel-and-toe driving technique.
A new seven-speed paddle-shift automatic will complement the rewarding, engaging and sporty 2.3-litre engine’s driving experience. Adaptive Shift Scheduling assesses individual driving styles to optimise gearshift timings and is enhanced to offer more flexibility and the ability to differentiate between road and track use. Drivers can also select gears manually using steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters.
Ford says the Focus ST was developed to blend B-road fun-to-drive, legitimate track-day performance, and everyday usability.
“Our target was to deliver an new-generation Focus ST that is as effortless to drive day-to-day as the rest of the Focus line-up,” said Roeks. “The model’s comprehensive range of technologies means customers gain exhilarating ST performance without sacrifice.”
This flexibility and capability is accessed via Selectable Drive Modes that optimise the Focus ST’s capabilities for road (or track) conditions ahead.
Slippery, Normal, Sport and Track Drive Modes adjust the eLSD, CCD, EPAS, throttle mapping, automatic transmission shift scheduling, electronic stability control (ESC), electronic sound enhancement (ESE) and climate settings to suit the driving scenario. A dedicated “Sport” button on the flat-bottomed steering wheel gives direct access to Sport mode, and an additional “Mode” button allows drivers to quickly scroll through the Drive Mode options.
“Selecting Track mode instantly introduces higher steering efforts for more feedback; tunes the throttle to be more aggressive; instructs the eLSD to deliver maximum traction; and gives drivers more leeway within the ESC system,” said Roeks. “Drivers can have full confidence in the Focus ST’s ability to deliver on the track.”
The Focus ST’s chassis brings a unique, fully-independent rear suspension configuration that helps optimise the vehicle’s responses to driver inputs without sacrificing comfort. The agile and energetic character of the standard Focus is retained using the original spring specifications, with damping stiffness increased up to 20 percent at the front and 13 percent at the rear, and ride height reduced by 10mm, to improve road-holding and response in performance driving scenarios.
The chassis upgrades also include Ford’s sophisticated Continuously Controlled Damper (CCD) technology for the first time on a Focus in Australia. The system monitors suspension, body, steering and braking inputs every 2 milliseconds to adjust damping responses for outstanding ride quality and driving dynamics.
Also improving capability is the eLSD. The Borg Warner-developed technology is faster to deploy and offers greater precision than a traditional mechanical LSD. The system can pre-emptively adjust torque distribution using inputs from powertrain and vehicle dynamics sensors, rather than responding to wheelspin as it occurs, and can apply differential locking gradually for fine-tuning performance.
The all-new Focus ST also takes Ford’s fastest-steering-response crown from the acclaimed Fiesta ST. The electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system is 15 per cent faster than the standard Focus, requiring just two turns lock-to-lock.
Class-leading connected feel is supported by unique steering knuckle geometry, with a rod attachment point 9mm further forward and 6.5mm higher than the standard Focus for sharper responses. New Steering Torque Disturbance Reduction software for EPAS also helps reduce torque steer, making it even easier to deploy with precision the Focus ST’s power and torque.
Focus ST will arrive in Australian showrooms in Q1, 2020.
Recommended Manufacturer List Price (MLP)i for Ford Focus ST and available options:
Ford Performance Focus ST
ST five-door hatch, 2.3L turbo, 6-speed Manual – $44,690
ST five-door hatch, 2.3L turbo, 7-speed Automatic – $44,690
Ford Performance Focus ST Options
Prestige Paint – $650
Panoramic sunroof (fully opening) – $2500