What is it?
So here we are, then. After our first passenger rides and test drives on the Continent, the ST version of the fourth-generation Ford Focus has finally landed in the UK, ready to battle the hot hatch world’s finest.
You’ll read exactly how it fares against the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, the Renault Mégane RS and more on this website very soon, but for now let’s see what this new hot Focus is like in isolation.
Up front, the latest Focus ST has the same 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine you get in the Mustang and the previous Focus RS, producing some 276bhp and 310lb ft. Admittedly, that’s less than you’d get in both of those cars (quite a lot less than the RS’s 345bhp and 325lb ft, actually) but still good for a suitably rapid 5.7sec 0-62mph time.
That’s all marshalled to the front wheels (shod in bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber) via a six-speed manual gearbox and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential (eLSD). There’s brake-based torque vectoring, and a heavily revised suspension configuration that drops the ride height by 10mm, increases damping stiffness and beefs up the anti-roll bars. Adaptive dampers are standard, with Normal and Sport firmness settings.
Opt for the Performance pack and you’ll get Track mode, which tightens things even further, and a rev-matching function for the manual ’box. In addition to the firmness of the dampers, those three drive modes also alter the characteristics of the eLSD, the electric power-assisted steering, throttle response and stability systems.