Ford has chosen to price the new Focus ST aggressively against its nearest rivals, with an entry point of £21,995 for the base ST version with cloth seats and 18″ alloy wheels.
This compares against a starting price of £25,650 for Volkswagen’s 40bhp less Golf GTi, although the GTi comes with ‘Vienna’ leather trim as standard. The Focus ST-2 with partial leather comes in at £23,495, whilst the top ST-3 version with full leather trim, Xenon lights and daytime-running lights is priced at £25,495.
Powered by an advanced, direct-injection 2.0-litre turbocharged, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, the new Ford Focus ST will go in sale in the UK from 1st June 2012. Despite its 246bhp performance, the Focus ST remains capable of returning 39.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 169g/km – 20 per cent better than its predecessor.
Suspension is unique to the Focus ST, complemented by non-linear variable-ratio steering and performance brakes that have all been specifically tuned for the increased performance. The striking central exhaust, imposing trapezoidal front grille and even the Tangerine Scream paint option which were inspired by the original Ford Focus ST Concept, have remained in the production model.
A novel new feature on the Focus ST is something Ford describe as a ‘Sound Symposer’, this is a special sound tube which amplifies the throaty frequencies in the ST’s induction sound through the use of a composite “paddle” that vibrates with intake air pulses. The sound symposer used in Focus ST is unique because of its electronically controlled valve that opens and closes based on driver inputs – engine speed, accelerator pedal position and gear selection. In lower gears, the valve is mapped more aggressively, while in higher gears the effect is dialed back to enable quieter cruising.
“The sound symposer gives the Focus ST an aural split personality,” says Lisa Schoder, Ford Focus ST Marketing manager. “In everyday driving, the car is composed and refined. But under full throttle, we unleash the sonic hounds. It’s a beauty and a beast.”
For the first time, the Focus ST will be available in both hatchback and estate bodystyles, with a standard UK specification of Ford Power keyless start, Recaro seats, DAB radio, Bluetooth and 18in alloy wheels, with the range-topping ST3 model adding heated, leather seats, Bi-Xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and keyless entry.
Additional sports styling options will include rado-grey alloys wheels, red brake callipers and illuminated scuff plates.
The new Focus ST was developed jointly by Ford’s Team RS in Europe and its Special Vehicles Team (SVT) in the United States and its UK debut will coincide with a starring role in the new all-action movie adaptation of British TV cop classic, The Sweeney, with actors Ray Winstone and “Plan B” Ben Drew playing Regan and Carter.
Photo credits: Ford Motor Company, Ken Block