Following in the footsteps of the excellent Fiesta ST Edition, Ford’s applied the same idea to the larger Focus ST
With such a talented spread of hot hatchbacks currently on sale, it’s easy for anything that’s less than brilliant to fall out of the limelight – unfortunately for Ford, its Focus ST is one such car. But Ford hasn’t given up on its middleweight hot hatch contender yet. Without a future RS to get in the way, the ST has been given some extra attention in the shape of a combination of more focused tweaks to create the new Focus ST Edition. The car joins the brilliant Fiesta ST Edition as one of Ford’s new special edition models.
The changes on the Focus ST Edition are mostly focused on the chassis, starting with a brand new coilover suspension setup from K&W. The system is mechanically adjustable, but from the factory comes with a 50 percent increase in spring rate at all four corners and a 10mm reduction in ride height. This can then be adjusted by owners, with a further 20mm ride height reduction able to be dialled in, with 12 different settings for compression and 15 for rebound. The dampers are sleeved in twin-tube stainless steel housings, and the springs themselves are powder coated in performance blue for a bit of inner arch bling.
The new suspension is then made full use of by the fitment of lighter 19-inch flow-formed alloy wheels, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. The new wheels, which share the pleasingly motorsport-esque design of those on the Fiesta ST Edition, reduce unsprung weight by ten percent. This same combination of upgrades has already transformed the smaller Fiesta ST from being entertaining, but somewhat unsophisticated, into a far more capable and therefore exploitable hot hatchback, traits we sincerely hope translate in the larger Focus package.
The ST’s powertrain is otherwise unchanged, inclusive of the same 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Ecoboost engine that produces 276bhp at 5500rpm, and a strong 310lb ft between 3000 and 4000rpm. The ST’s electronically controlled mechanical limited slip differential with torque vectoring is also as before, although the reduction in unsprung weight will have changed the calibration requirements of both differential and steering, which should yield some improvements in feedback.
Visually, the Focus ST Edition again borrows from the Fiesta ST Edition with a combination of unique Azure Blue paintwork with gloss black detailing on the roof, wheels and mirror covers. Inside, Ford’s excellent Recaro seats remain, but are now highlighted with matching blue stitching, with updated graphics and the fitment of Ford’s new digital instrument cluster.
The ST Edition will only be available in petrol-powered five-door hatchback form with a manual transmission from $49,130 – only $3500 more than a standard ST hatchback. But the real question resides in whether these changes will finally unlock the potential that we all know the current Focus ST has hidden away somewhere inside.
This article originally appeared at evo.co.uk
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