Ford has pulled cover on the production version of the new hot hatch 2013 Focus ST five-door at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Looking virtually identical to the concept version we showed you earlier this year, the 2013 Focus ST will be a truly global performance car for the first time
With the SVT Focus long gone into the past, the new ST brings the first product to America that is born of the new global SVT performance group within Ford. Vehicles developed for the US only will continue to wear the SVT badge while vehicles that are global will wear the ST badge. Make no mistake, they all share the same soul.
Destined to reach over 40 markets on six continents, the five-door Focus ST will bring affordable, everyday performance to the world. Only the smallest changes – to meet with regional legislation – will be implemented. In effect, no matter where in the world a driver gets behind the wheel, the new Focus ST five-door will deliver the same sensation of power, poise and refinement as for anybody else across the globe.
For Europe, where wagon derivatives are extremely popular in many markets, the opportunity to develop a stylish ST Wagon as a niche model was irresistible says Ford. It’s too bad they feel we don’t deserve such a model here in the States.
“We know many European buyers favor the carrying capacity of a wagon, but still want the driving excitement and performance a five-door can offer,” said Tonn. “With such a stylish wagon in the new Focus range, we had the ideal basis on which to create a unique niche model for these customers – and it will be just as exciting to drive as the five-door.”
The 2013 Ford Focus ST is powered by the same 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine launched this fall in the Ford Explorer and Edge. High pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging and twin-independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT) all help to create 250 horsepower.
Mated to the 2.0 liter 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.
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, maximizing their control over the vehicle. It also has benefits in slow-speed situations such as tight parking maneuvers, with less input needed from the driver to direct the vehicle into the space.
The Focus ST’s Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) is also enhanced with Ford’s Torque Steer Compensation (TSC) system. 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 Program (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.
Of course, the ESP system can also be switched off completely resulting in the Focus ST in its purest form, giving full control of the sublime chassis to the driver when is a position to exploit it, such as on a race track. Only the sub-features such as the Enhanced Dynamic Cornering Control (EDCC) remain active, optimizing the enjoyment of the Focus ST’s abilities.
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 behavior and allowing for more traction, much like a traditional limited slip differential.
The 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 exhilarating drive of the new Focus ST will have customers spending as much time behind the steering wheel as possible. With that in mind, Ford’s designers have worked hard to ensure the interior of the Focus ST is a great place to be, helping the driver to feel as connected to the vehicle as possible.
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.
We hope to bring you our first hand test drive review of the new 2013 Focus ST when it arrives here in the States sometime next year.