Sad day for American hot hatch lovers.
As one of the main competitors to the Volkswagen GTI, you’d expect this Focus to come packing more power. And you’d be right: this particular (European) model manages 276 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the old model, this Focus ST has a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine instead of a 2.0-liter mill. That means horsepower is up by 26, while torque is up by 40 lb-ft. Ford of Europe estimates the new Focus ST will sprint to 60 in under 6 seconds.
Ford hasn’t just worked on power, however. Engineers have also been busy at work improving responsiveness. More specifically, they took elements from the Ford F-150 Raptor pickup and the Ford GT with their “anti-lag” technology. When you lift off the throttle in Sport or Track modes, the system keeps the throttle open a bit. That maintains the compressor wheel speed and lets the boost build faster when you get back on the go-faster pedal.
Being a hot hatch, you’d also expect the new Focus ST to handle, and again you’d be correct. This time around, the car gets an electronic limited-slip differential to improve traction and stability in the corners. Like any modern hot hatch should, it also has selectable drive modes. Of course, I wonder if you can get the car to just default to Sport mode, then yank out the drive mode button to keep it there all the time.
It’s not just a gas engine, either
Thanks to recent incidents, diesel is pretty much dead in this country. At least, that’s the case in passenger cars. That’s not the case with the new Focus ST in Europe, though. Ford also offers the ST with a 2.0-liter EcoBlue engine that produces just 187 horsepower. However, it also produces 295 lb-ft of torque, nearly the same as what’s in the gas-powered Focus ST. What’s more, it should be much more fuel efficient, if not as out and out powerful.
Both engines get a six-speed manual transmission as standard — again, another dying feature in the U.S. The transmission features rev-matching as part of the Performance Pack on the 2.3-liter engine. Even better is the fact that you can turn it off. Alternatively, European customers can buy the new Focus ST with a 7-speed automatic transmission.
The new Ford Focus ST builds on the latest C2 platform of the new Focus. On top of that, though, it has bespoke powertrain, braking and suspension setups. Ford claims it’s “the most repsonsive and agile Focus ST driving experience ever — on road and track.”
On sale in Europe this summer
Europe will get the new Ford Focus ST as a five-door hatchback or — be still my beating heart — a wagon. It will go on sale there this summer. But here’s the rub: The U.S. market isn’t getting a new Focus ST at all.
Editor’s note (or rant): No, no, I’m fine. My left foot isn’t twitching in anger right now or anything like that. No, I didn’t really want another hot hatch option anyway.