This is the 2015 Ford Focus ST, which gets the same face-lift as the standard car, along with revised suspension and steering, and high-tech cabin upgrades.
What engines can I choose from?
The big news for this model is that you’ll be able to choose a hot diesel Focus ST for the first time. It won’t be badged any differently to the petrol car, but gets a 182bhp 2.0-litre TDCi engine under the bonnet. It does promises 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds, and to return up to 64.2mpg while emitting 114g/km of CO2.
The diesel’s acceleration puts it on par with the equivalent Skoda Octavia vRS, but the VW Golf GTD and Seat Leon TDI 184 FR are both even quicker. Choose the petrol engine and you get the same 247bhp 2.0-litre Ecoboost unit, which gives an unchanged 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds. It is slightly more efficient than the outgoing model, now up to 41.5mpg, thanks to the addition of stop-start technology.
What else has changed?
New front springs, revised shock absorbers and recalibrated power steering are claimed to sharpen handling with more responsive turn-in. Tweaked torque vectoring settings and new engine mounts should also mean better traction through corners and off the line – and hopefully less torque steer.
Styling changes are as per the standard Ford Focus. Thinner headlights – now offered with adaptive lights – sit either side of a slimmer trapezoid grille. Oblong foglights are integrated into the front bumper. At the rear, the chunky tail-lights have been shrunk slightly, and there is wider bumper. A dark grey paint called Stealth has been added to the ST colour options, and new 19-inch wheels and tyres are optional. As with the outgoing car, the ST is available as a five-door hatch or an estate.
What's it like inside?
In the cabin, the Focus ST gets the new Sync 2 software and eight-inch touch-screen display, with a simple set of audio controls beneath. The new software has high-tech voice control that can interpret sentiments. For example, saying ‘I’m hungry’ will cue up a list of local restaurants, and you can then tell the sat-nav to take you to one. The flat-bottomed leather-trimmed steering wheel completes the cabin upgrades.
How good are its rivals?
The Focus ST has never faced such a wide range of competition, but the outgoing model is nevertheless very accomplished.
Hardcore rivals such as the Renaultsport Megane, and everyday champs like the VW Golf GTI are both better buys, but they are also more expensive.
How much will it cost?
Ford will release pricing details later this year, but we'd expect the new Focus ST to cost around £22,500. The company has deliberately omitted any indication of the fuel type from the outside of the car, so we wouldn't be surprised if the petrol and diesel models carry this 'equality' into their price, and cost exactly the same.
The new Ford Focus ST will make its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week. It will be available to order in the autumn, and will arrive in dealers in early 2015.