Golf GTI rival packs 276 bhp in its most powerful guise.
Based on the latest version of the Focus family car, the new Golf GTI-rivalling ST model will once more be available with a choice of hatchback and estate body styles, as well as the option of petrol or diesel power.
The petrol engine is a 2.3-litre turbocharged affair, producing 276 bhp and offering a 0-62 mph time of 5.7 seconds, while the 2-litre diesel is much less powerful. Producing 188 bhp, it’s the most potent diesel engine ever fitted to a Focus, but it’s still almost 90 bhp down on the petrol. As a result, the 0-62 mph time is extended to 7.6 seconds, but the economy improves dramatically. Where the petrol will achieve just 35.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of 179 g/km, the diesel returns 58.8 mpg and 125 g/km CO2 emissions.
But whichever engine you choose, Ford has worked hard to make the Focus handle like a hot hatch. The Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) adjusts the shock absorbers every two milliseconds to make sure the car rides and grips like it should, while the petrol-powered versions get a clever electronic limited slip differential (eLSD) to improve handling and acceleration. The diesels, meanwhile, get a system that brakes the inside wheel slightly in corners to make the car more agile.
All these gizmos are controlled by the driving modes, which include Slippery/Wet, Normal and Sport (and Track, if you plump for the optional Performance Pack). These change the settings to suit the driver’s preference, allowing the car to be tuned for more spirited driving or tentative progress on ice.
“Intelligent technologies like eLSD and CCD make our all-new Focus ST the most ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ yet, able to switch from refined tourer to focussed performance car at the push of a button,” said Leo Roeks, the director of Ford Performance’s operations in Europe. “We’ve incorporated learnings from programmes 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.”
Gallery: 2019 Ford Focus ST Wagon
Externally, the Focus ST will get a host of styling upgrades that give it a more aggressive edge over the standard car. There’s a new grille designed to improve cooling and a bigger roof spoiler, not to mention the twin-exit exhaust and deep diffuser in the rear bumper. Red brake callipers also feature, alongside Recaro seats and race-inspired alloy pedals.
The new car will go on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on Thursday, July 4, when it will take to the famous hillclimb as part of the Manufacturers Batch.