The recent launch of the next-generation Ford Focus will be followed by petrol and diesel ST models, with up to 275bhp from a high-tech turbocharged 1.5-litre engine in the petrol version.
The ST hot hatches will go on sale soon after the mainstream Focus late this year and appear in five-door and estate bodystyles. Details of the new ST are still scarce, but Ford sees performance models as vital to distinguish the Focus from its rivals in a crowded market. So far, ST models have been more popular than the more recently launched Vignale luxury variants. The STs are expected to maintain their formula of affordable and accessible performance, combined with road manners that encourage everyday use.
One potential change is a move to downsized turbo engines from today’s 2-litre four-cylinder diesel and petrol units. Ford has a new family of 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engines designed for the new emissions regulations.
However, Ford is believed to be looking at twin-scroll turbocharging, direct injection and cylinder deactivation technology to deliver the required power boost and fuel economy to make the next Focus ST a practical proposition. The 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost engine in the new Fiesta ST generates 131bhp per litre, so getting 150bhp or 160bhp per litre out of the Focus ST’s four-pot engine should be within Ford’s reach with this suite of technologies.
There will continue to be a hot diesel model, because it contributes about half of Focus ST sales. Whether it moves to a 1.5-litre capacity or sticks with 2-litres is unclear.