With Ford’s first global performance car, the Focus ST, set to go on sale next year, the test program is well underway. In Europe and North America, Ford’s Team RS and SVT engineering teams are putting a fleet of around 60 pre-production prototypes through a punishing regime of testing and development to fine-tune the car’s driving dynamics and performance. The prototypes are based on standard Focus vehicles and, in some cases, previous-generation ST models.
“The new Focus ST is eagerly awaited,” said Jost Capito, Ford’s director of Global Performance Vehicles. “It must live up to Ford’s reputation for producing affordable yet exciting and sporty versions of its smaller cars that reward and delight enthusiast drivers, but can also be used every day. “We’ve done all the engineering groundwork, and now we’re using some of the most demanding roads we can find in Europe and North America to validate and fine-tune the performance and driving dynamics.”
The new Focus ST will be powered by a high-performance version of Ford’s new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, targeting an exhilarating 246hp, while still delivering better fuel economy than the previous generation Focus ST sold in Europe. “Fuel efficiency is a key target for Ford globally. We want to be class-leading even with a performance vehicle, so we’re working on getting the best possible blend of high performance and fuel economy from the new ST,” said Matthias Tonn, chief program engineer at Ford of Europe. Recently, the development team completed demanding cold weather testing in northern Europe, as well as exacting tests and exercises to refine steering performance.
With the new Focus ST, a key focal point for the Ford development team is to deliver an even more engaging driver experience, from its Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system to sporty seats. “The seats and seating position were very good in the previous Focus ST, but the new model is sleeker and the driver will sit lower. The new seats will provide even more support,” Tonn said.
The all-new Focus ST is Ford’s first global performance car, conceived under the “Like the Focus ST and RS models before it, the new Focus ST’s final set-up will be achieved after painstaking tuning on some of the most demanding roads we can find from California to the Nürburgring, and from high-speed German autobahns to classic British B-roads,” Capito added. “Keep your eyes open for our camouflaged prototypes as we work on delivering a Focus ST driving experience that will delight performance car fans around the world.”