What is it?
A new, three-cylinder 1.0 litre turbocharged version of the Ford Focus, driven here in 123bhp form but also available with 99bhp.
This engine, whose cylinder block has barely the area of a sheet of A4 paper, arrives first in the Focus because its high-tech gadgetry (variable valve timing, miniature turbo, advanced electronics, direct fuel injection system) would make it expensive for the Fiesta.
The triple's efficiencies – which include super-efficient combustion, stop-start, a remarkably wide torque spread (with peak 125lb ft torque that overboosts to 148lb ft for 30 seconds to assist acceleration and passing manoeuvres), a six-speed gearbox and a 30kg weight saving over the front wheels – result in CO2 output of just 114g/km and combined fuel consumption of 56.5mpg for the six-speed version.
Five-speed figures are a little sharper, but that model loses a bit of performance against the six-speeder's 120mph top speed and 11.3sec 0-62mph acceleration. Both versions bring impressive tax advantages to business users.
What’s it like?
Even such promising paper figures don't prepare you for the driving experience. You barely hear the thing start, and it idles so smoothly you'd swear it had stalled. Your brain tells you such a small engine will need lots of revs off the mark, but it gets going easily because the combination of a tiny turbo, advanced electronic engine management and double variable valve timing give it amazing oomph in the low gears, even below 2000rpm (though the redline's 6700rpm).