New Car: 2013 Ford Focus ST

It was a year ago, in the lead-up to the 2010 Paris auto show, that we first got our look at the Ford Focus ST. Nobody at Ford called the Focus ST shown at that point a concept, but it clearly wasn’t a regular-production car. Paint that shiny and wheels that awesome just aren’t things you can get on a showroom Ford. Now, though, Ford is officially launching the ST at the Frankfurt auto show, and we’re pleased to report that the paint is slightly less shiny, but that’s about the only departure from the ST as we already knew it.

The paint is not only less shiny, but it appears a little less orange than before. Regardless, it should still catch eyes with far more ease than the other paint options, which are red, white, and blue. (Vive la France!) The wheels, although sharing their design with the ST shown last year, are an inch smaller, at 18 inches, and silver now—or optionally black—instead of matte bronze. That concludes our list of differences between the car we’ve seen already and the production-ready version.

The best news of all is that, as Ford previously stated, the Focus ST will be nearly identical worldwide, with only minute changes market to market to meet local regulations. (Well, there is one big difference, but we’ll get to that in a minute.) To that end, the vehicle was developed with cooperation from all of Ford’s global performance engineers, including the RS team in Europe and the SVT crew here in the U.S. Items commonly left in Europe when performance cars head to the U.S.—but that will be included on our ST—include the thickly bolstered and loudly upholstered Recaro seats and the high-performance Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 rubber. Measuring 235/40-18, the Goodyears will need to sit out the winter months in northern states.

Powering the Focus ST is a 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder. With direct injection, variable intake and exhaust timing, and bitchin’ hexagonal center-exit exhaust finishers, the aluminum four cranks out 247 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual will be the only transmission offered at launch, although Ford might fit its dual-clutch automatic at a later date. (We’ll pass, at least until it feels more like a proper dual-clutch automatic than a dual-clutch masquerading as a regular automatic.)

To help get that power to the ground without jerking the car into the weeds, the Focus ST will have a brake-based limited-slip differential similar to that in the base Focus. (Ford tries to spin it as torque vectoring, but it isn’t.) Ford says that the function of this system in the ST will extend to cornering as well, intervening to limit understeer prior to the activation of stability control. A brake-based system intervening to limit understeer sounds a lot like stability control to us, but, either way, less understeer is more good. To further aid reflexes, Ford fitted redesigned anti-roll bars and dropped the ST 0.4-inch closer to the ground than other Focuses.

Thanks to: Car and Driver


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