And what's with the Avengers sticker on the back?
The next-generation Ford Focus was revealed earlier this year, so it’s been something of a mystery why pre-production ST models have been spotted still wearing full camouflage wrap. Could Ford have a bigger plan in mind for the hot hatchback? These latest pictures – snapped by spy photographers near the Nürburgring – tell us no, not really.
With much of the wrap now removed, the ST’s visual upgrades will primarily exist at the front with a more aggressive fascia, and of course at the back where a rear diffuser sits down low between the dual exhaust outlets. There’s also a bit of tape on that roof spoiler to, ah, hide the roof spoiler. We’re not entirely sure how effective that is, but the spoiler is part of the ST package so it must be covered up.
Less visible components of the ST package include the tweaked suspension which should feature a standard-issue multi-link setup in the rear. Ride height is also expected to drop the hatchback ever-so-slightly while firming things up in the process. Rumours suggest bigger brakes are in the mix, and of course, it will stick with its front-wheel-drive layout. Current thought is that the wheels will be turned with a paddle-shift automatic or possibly a dual-clutch gearbox. Power will remain the responsibility of the existing 2.0-litre turbo four-pot, though it should add a few more notches to its current 252-bhp output.
We can’t wrap up this near-naked look at the new ST without addressing that red Avengers sticker on the back. It’s not exactly common to see such things on a pre-production car, but Ford did have some fun with camouflage wraps on pre-production versions of the standard Focus. We’ll assume that Bruce references Bruce Banner – AKA the Incredible Hulk – but could this have a secret meaning? Is Ford going to have some role in the next Avengers film? Is the new Focus ST actually going to pack considerably more power under the bonnet than we’ve been led to believe?
Maybe Ford does have a bigger plan after all. We’ll just have to wait until the ST is revealed to find out, which should happen later this year.