Road Test

Road Test: 2012 Ford Focus ST

December 31, 2012

Ford Focus ST 2012_01Ford Focus is a fun car to drive even in its standard form, so the performance boosted ST model lifts the expectations quite high. Fortunately, the long-awaited new Focus ST doesn’t fail the expectations but delivers driving enjoyment and performance we hoped for.

To improve Focus’ sporty exterior, the ST comes with a body kit including one-piece trapezoidal grille, side skirts, front bumper and rear bumper and a roof spoiler. The roof spoiler isn’t just for the looks, but it also improves high-speed stability and reduces drag. The exhaust system with a unique twin hexagonal centre exhaust tailpipe looks nice and provides also enjoyable soundtrack. With its new signature colour, the Tangerine Scream, the new Focus ST draws quite a few looks. Other colour options include Black, White, Silver, Spirit Blue and Race Red. With the new Performance Pack, you get special black wheels and red finished brake calipers. For the first time, the Focus ST is also available as wagon model in addition to this five-door hatchback. However, the wagon is only available in European markets. Inside the car, the new Focus ST features a specially-designed steering wheel, gearshift and pedals. Also the seats have a much sportier form. Focus ST’s Recaro seats provide great support, but are also surprisingly comfortable. Depending on the market, the seats have a partial leather or full leather upholstery.

To make sure that the new ST drives as well as it looks, the car has a new Sport Steering System. The variable ratio steering rack should reduce steering sensitivity when driving in a straight line and increase sensitivity when cornering. What you notice immediately, is that the steering is very quick. The steering wheel can be turned to almost full lock without the need to remove either hand. The Electronic Power Assisted Steering system has been calibrated to detect and counter torque steer using a more aggressively pitched version of Ford’s Torque Steer Compensation. With the studless winter tyres, there is noticeable torque steering effect, but this can be partly be blaimed for the soft rubber combound of the winter tyres. Also the suspension has been tuned for ST requirements. ST is fitted with new shock absorbers, springs and anti-roll bars. Compared to the standard Focus, the ST has been lowered by 10mm. At the front axle, ST features Macpherson strut suspension while the Control Blade rear suspension has been derived from Focus RS.

The new ST also has a new power source. Instead of the predecessor’s 2.5-litre engine, the new Focus ST is powered by a 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine. Although the engine displacement is smaller, it produces more power. With the high pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging, and Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT) the 2.0-litre engine produces 250 horsepower and 360 Newton metres of torque. Sprint from zero to hundred km/h takes 6,5 seconds and the top speed is 248 km/h. At the same time, the new Focus ST is much more economical than the preceding model. Fuel consumption and the CO2 emissions have dropped around 20 percent. The combined fuel consumption is just 7,2 l/100km and the CO2 emissions are 169 g/km, which is pretty impressive for a 250 horsepower performance car. Focus ST is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox. The engine feels so brisk with the manual gearbox that I don’t know why anyone would want to combine it with a boring automatic transmission.

The new Focus ST delivers a powerful soundtrack which makes the car’s performance even more enjoyable. The exhaust system has been tuned to deliver refined sounds at lower rpm and a purposeful growl as the engine revs rise. But more importantly, the new ST also features a newly-enhanced sound symposer, which relays the engine sounds directly from the intake into the cabin. This sound tube concept, which is designed to amplify the specific lower range of engine frequencies found between 200 and 450 Hz, has been used before on Mustang. However, the sound symposer used in Focus ST is unique because of its electronically controlled valve that opens and closes based on engine speed, accelerator pedal position and gear selection. In lower gears, the valve is mapped to provide more aggressive sounds, while in higher gears the engine sounds are softer for quieter cruising.

Specification

Engine

  • Petrol
  • 4-cylinder
  • 2000cc
  • Turbo

Power

  • 184 kW (250 hp)

Torque

  • 360 Nm (with overboost)

Transmission

  • 6-speed manual
  • FWD

0-100km/h / 0-62mph

  • 6.5 seconds

Top speed

  • 248 km/h

Fuel consumption

  • 7.2 l/100km

CO2 emissions

  • 169 g/km

Ford Focus ST 2012_07