It’s the machine that hot hatch fans have been waiting for... so say hello to the new Ford Focus ST!
These official images reveal the five-door hot hatch and we can also show what the revised three-door will offer, too.
The revised Focus range hits UK showrooms in January, but the ST won't join the line-up until March. These pictures reveal the dramatic revisions that aim to keep the car at the top of the class.
The new car will have a lot to live up to - fast Fords of the past still have a big following (click here for a few of our favourites).
Mondeo-style headlamps are the most obvious change, yet look closely and you’ll also see a sporty honeycomb grille. The front bumper has integrated foglamps and a huge air intake that takes its inspiration from the Fiesta replacement, the Verve, a concept version of which debuted at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
Ford’s designers have ditched the rubbing strips fitted to the current Focus for a clean new look. And at the back, there’s a revised tailgate with a sporty diffuser-style bumper designed to improve high-speed stability.
The comprehensive changes have been made to bring the best-selling model into line with Ford’s latest styling. The new Mondeo was the first production car to preview the firm’s ‘kinetic’ design language when it arrived earlier this year. Its look will be shared with the hotly anticipated Kuga compact SUV – due next May – and the forthcoming Verve.
Changes inside the Focus include new instruments and revised controls for the stereo and ventilation. Buyers will also be able to choose from a host of fresh extras, with keyless entry available as an option for the first time. Cars fitted with the handy set-up get a sporty ‘Power’ button on the centre console to start and stop the engine.
Although the ST’s styling has been changed, fans of the current model needn’t panic about its performance. Engineers are so confident in the outgoing hot variant that modifications under the skin have been kept to a minimum. “The Focus isn’t behind the times dynamically, so there’s no real need to make changes,” explained a spokesman for the company.
The newcomer therefore uses the same 2.5-litre turbocharged engine as before. With 222bhp on tap, the five-cylinder unit will propel the ST from 0-60mph in only 6.5 seconds.
Other manufacturers are toying with the idea of diesel power for their performance models. Only last week (Issue 985), we reported on Honda’s plans to introduce an oil-burning version of its Civic Type R. But a blue oval spokesman confirmed that the powerful 2.2-litre TDCi – the most likely engine choice for a hot diesel model – doesn’t fit under the bonnet of the Focus.
He also ruled out an estate version of the performance flagship. Although other countries in Europe offer sporty Focus load-luggers, demand in the UK is not sufficient to justify converting such a variant to right-hand drive.
The new Focus ST is due in dealers here in March, alongside facelifted versions of the coupé-cabrio and estate.
The existing line-up of ST, ST-2 and ST-3 models will continue, and prices have remained unchanged. The three-door ST will start from £17,995, with the flagship ST-3 costing £19,995. Five-door cars will command a premium of around £600.