Ford Focus ST 2013 review
The Ford Focus ST 2013 is Ford’s first truly global performance car, building on the heritage of previous Focus ST models in Europe and evolving it to allow drivers around the world to experience and enjoy the exhilarating performance, unrivaled handling, addictive sound and muscular sports design that the ST badge represents.
Beneath the skin of the new Ford Focus ST is a detailed DNA for the ST range, established in Ford’s exciting global performance car strategy. Working together, the Global Performance Vehicles group – made up of Ford Team RS in Europe and the Special Vehicles Team (SVT) in the United States, along with input from Ford experts in the Asia Pacific and Africa region – devised a strategy that all future global performance Ford cars will adhere to.
Like all future ST models, the new Focus ST has key physical DNA attributes like the aggressively enhanced front and rear bumpers, the addition of a rear spoiler and sideskirts plus a unique signature colour.
In both five-door and wagon form, the scintillating Focus ST delivers the same driving attributes that makes all Ford ‘Sports Technologies’ models stand out amongst the competition. The chassis, engine, sound and comfort of the vehicle are tuned harmoniously to deliver a truly sporty experience with a level of refinement rarely seen in this sector of vehicle. These same attributes will form the genetic code for future models bearing the ST badge.
For global customers, Ford Focus ST is powered by the 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost engine, which offers an uncompromising mix of performance and efficiency. Ford’s lightweight, all-aluminum EcoBoost engines provide the power of a larger engine in a fuel-efficient smaller displacement, utilising three key technologies. High pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging and Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT) all help to create an advanced combustion system which brings new levels of performance and fuel efficiency to Ford’s petrol engines.
Ford’s Global Performance Vehicles group has taken this technology and developed a 250PS high-output derivative of the 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost engine for Focus ST. Redesigned intake and exhaust systems with unique engine calibration deliver the ideal level of power and responsiveness.
The engine has a maximum output of 250PS and strong torque levels in a broad, flat torque curve peaking at 360Nm. The responsive torque output, a trademark of Ford EcoBoost engines, is maintained despite the impressive peak figures.
Compared to the 2.5-litre, 5-cylinder engine in the previous-generation European Focus ST, the new 4-cylinder engine offers increased performance, but its smaller capacity and innovative technology also allow it to be more fuel efficient. The EcoBoost 2.0 in the Focus ST is expected to cut both CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by more than 20 per cent from the previous-generation European model when fuel consumption data is certified.
Mated to the 2.0-litre engine is a 6-speed manual transmission, which has specially revised gearing to produce the maximum punch from each throw of the gear shift. The Global Performance Vehicles group spent significant attention to detail to ensure the ratio of sixth gear was perfectly in tune with the Focus ST, giving the driver optimum performance while remaining long enough to help maintain excellent fuel economy on longer runs.
The previous generation Ford Focus ST was acclaimed for its particularly sporty 5-cylinder engine sound. With the introduction of a 4-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine into the new Focus ST, the Ford sound engineers were keen to ensure the audible delights from this totally different engine keep enthusiasts just as excited. The exhaust system – with unique centre exit tailpipes – has been tuned to deliver a perfectly balanced audible experience.
Incredible driving dynamics are at the heart of the Focus ST. Innovation and technology combine to create a chassis capable of exceeding the expectations of even the most demanding driving enthusiast, while giving even novice motorists an unforgettable drive. From the driver’s seat, customers will experience the newly-developed Ford Sport Steering System. This variable ratio steering rack is designed to increase the agility of the Focus ST on winding roads yet still inspire the same high-speed confidence.
The unique system makes steering less sensitive when driving in a straight line, but increases the sensitivity during cornering. Drivers can keep their hands firmly gripped on the steering wheel through tight hairpins, maximising their control over the vehicle. It also has benefits in slow-speed situations such as tight parking manoeuvres, with less input needed from the driver to direct the vehicle into the space.
More aggressive tuning of the TSC allows Focus ST drivers to accelerate at full throttle and yet still find grip on roads with uneven surfaces or uneven levels of grip. The TSC system detects the torque steer that those conditions can create and communicates with the EPAS software, which then counteracts the effect to virtually eliminate the sensation for the driver.
Further enhancements have also been made to the Focus ST’s Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), with emphasis put on driver enjoyment. Drivers will have three modes of ESP to choose from. These can be selected according to weather and road conditions or simply to match the driver’s desire for help from additional driving aids.
In the first instance the ESP works much the same way as the innovative system found in the base model Focus, although for the ST it is tuned to be non-intrusive to the driver. This standard mode supports the driver on all surfaces, whether dry, wet or snowy, giving them the confidence to drive safely no matter what the weather. The driver can opt to select the second mode, called reduced or wide-slip mode, in which the traction control is turned off. Traction is handled by the driver here, while the ESP is programmed to intrude only as absolutely necessary.
Through the corners, Enhanced Torque Vectoring Control is an essential help for Focus ST drivers, a tuned version of the Torque Vectoring Control found in the base model Focus. The standard system uses torque vectoring by braking, in which brake torque is applied to the inner wheel of the Focus through a corner, reducing the understeer behaviour and allowing for more traction, much like a traditional limited slip differential.
The Ford Focus ST system applies this more aggressively and also adds Cornering Under Steer Control (CUSC), which applies torque to create yaw torque based on the vehicle’s understeer behavior prior to ESP, both in power-on and power-off conditions. Combined, they ensure that Enhanced Torque Vectoring Control is a crucial element in helping the front-wheel-drive Focus ST be a true driver’s machine, able to tackle any corner with supreme confidence.
Working in harmony with the advanced driver assistance features is the finely tuned suspension setup of the new Focus ST. Uprated shock absorbers and springs lower the ST chassis by 10mm for a more aggressive stance while the centre of gravity is brought closer to the road, which aids precise cornering.
The rear suspension has been revised with a number of new parts developed specifically for the Focus ST. Key components are the uprated suspension knuckles and an all-new anti-roll bar design, both the result of the development team’s desire to give drivers an outstanding amount of feedback and control. The rear suspension of the five-door and the wagon versions of Focus ST differ slightly. The wagon features angled shock absorbers – as in the base model – to maintain the optimum amount of capacity in the luggage compartment.
Ultimately, both Focus ST bodystyles offer the same handling characteristics that will have drivers searching out twisty roads.
Globally the new Ford Focus ST will be available in five-door hatchback bodystyle with European markets also able to order the newly-revealed wagon version. Both models build on the striking kinetic design of the standard Focus, yet add the muscular presence and specific performance cues associated with a Ford ST model.
The interior of the core Focus model is already designed with a “cockpit” feel, giving any Focus driver a sporty sensation. In the ST variant, though, that sporty feeling is heightened with everything the driver touches and feels reinforcing that it is unmistakably an ST.
Details range from specially designed pedals, steering wheel and gearshift to the unique Recaro seats. The darker headlining and trim on the pillars, an integral part of the ST’s design DNA, adds to the performance driving feel.
With the seats, Ford worked closely with Recaro to give ST customers the ultimate in comfort and support. The seats will not only hold the driver in place tightly during spirited driving, but will offer exclusive premium features like cushion tilt, plus length adjustment which is a unique option in this class of vehicle. A lower seating position has also been achieved to give drivers improved ergonomics and the perfect place from where to exploit the ST’s performance.
Rear seat passengers aren’t forgotten. An all-new rear bench has been developed for the ST, sculpted using special foam. This will help rear passengers feel as secure as those passengers in the front, highlighting not only the sporting intentions of Focus ST but also the practical considerations that are part of its core DNA.
New Ford Focus ST will be offered to European customers in three distinct trim options – ST1, ST2 and ST3. This approach is already familiar to owners of the previous Focus ST in the UK.
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