This is the 247-horsepower, turbocharged 2012 Ford Focus ST hatchback. It's coming to the United States. Watch your back, Volkswagen GTI.
We've long lusted after the Ford Focus RS hot hatch sold in Europe, and while the ST is a slightly tamer version of the pocket-rocket RS, it still has plenty of kit to do battle with hot hatches the world over. The beating heart of the Focus ST is a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that produces 247 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. Ford's new torque-vectoring power control system is on hand, which should keep the front wheels in line, as front-wheel-drive turbo cars are always prone to understeer and torque steer.
The 2012 Focus ST debuts in its new Tangerine Scream color, and we're quite fond of the way it looks on the bulgier, more aggressive Focus. The wheel wells are fully filled out with attractive 19-inch alloys in the Blue Oval's signature Y-spoke ST pattern. Additionally, the trapezoidal grille has been raised on the front fascia, making way for additional lower air intakes, and while Ford isn't keen on offering the base Focus with the LED eyebrow in America, we sincerely hope that it is left intact on the U.S.-spec Focus ST. Out back, the Focus' rear bumper has been completely reworked to incorporate a diffuser setup with a center-mounted sport exhaust.
Inside, the Focus ST uses all the same goodies found on the top-end Focus Titanium, but adds a set of Recaro seats (for both front and rear passengers) as well as some yellow-gold contrast stitching on many of the interior surfaces. The Focus ST gets a bespoke steering wheel, and we must applaud Ford for creating a hot hatch interior that looks both sporting and high-end at the same time.
Watch for the Focus ST to launch sometime in 2012. We haven't heard any rumblings about pricing, but if Ford can keep things near the $25,000 mark (fingers crossed!), we'll be in business. Oh, and consider our hot hatch comparison test planned. Follow the jump for Ford's press blast and scroll through the gallery below for a raft of high-res images.
• Ford delivers on promise to introduce a global performance version of the new
Focus: next-generation 250 PS Focus ST previewed at the Paris Motor Show
• Ford's first global high-performance model, scheduled for 2012 launch and
developed by Ford's global Performance Vehicles team
• Exciting new model will be true to Ford's ST heritage, with exhilarating
performance and handling, an addictive sound and muscular sports design
• Pure performance delivered by unique 250 PS version of new 2.0-litre Ford
EcoBoost four-cylinder petrol engine
• Over 10 per cent more power and torque than the current European Focus ST,
but fuel consumption and CO2 emissions cut by more than 20 per cent
• Lowered chassis and unique suspension tuning to deliver acclaimed ST handling
agility and poise
• 5-door ST show car for Paris features dramatic 'Tangerine Scream' body colour,
reflecting new ST's exciting and energetic character
The exciting next-generation Ford Focus ST makes its global debut at the 2010 Paris Motor
Show, providing an early preview of the new high-performance model which will be
introduced around the world in 2012.
Ford's first global high performance model and a star attraction for Ford in Paris, the
powerful new Focus ST show car was revealed today by Alan Mulally, Ford's President
and CEO, and Stephen Odell, Chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.
This range-topping Focus will be completely true to Ford's ST model heritage, offering
driving enthusiasts an intoxicating cocktail of exhilarating performance and handling, an
addictive sound and muscular sports design.
"The ST will be the performance flagship of our new Focus range, and we are excited to
provide our enthusiast customers with an early preview in Paris," said Gunnar Herrmann,
Ford Motor Company's Global C-car Vehicle Line Director. "The ST represents an ultimate
expression of Focus driving quality and performance and we are confident that the new
model will strengthen the reputation of Ford's ST heritage among enthusiast drivers and
attract new fans as well."
Global Performance Model
One common Focus ST model is being developed for all global markets, with the vehicle
targeted for launch during 2012. This will be the first time that Ford has produced one of
its highly regarded high-performance models for a global audience.
The Focus ST development programme is being undertaken by Ford's global Performance
Vehicles group, which comprises Team RS (Europe) and SVT (USA) engineers, who are
dedicated to developing and tuning products like the formidable Focus RS, Shelby GT500
Mustang and Raptor SVT F150.
For new Focus ST the development is being led by Team RS performance specialists based
in Europe, building on their extensive experience in engineering sought-after cars like the
previous ST models and legendary RS series.
"The new Focus ST will be our first true global performance vehicle and we are excited
about the chance to give many customers worldwide their first taste of Ford's acclaimed ST
heritage," said Jost Capito, Director of Global Performance Vehicles. "Like the ST and RS
models before it, the Focus ST will be the result of painstaking tuning around the curves of
the Nürburgring, along high-speed German autobahns, and down classic British B-roads.
"For European drivers, the Focus ST will bring the same distinctive qualities of pure
dynamics and performance that have created the unique appeal of our ST heritage.
"For enthusiasts in North America and Asia who have asked why our compact performance
models were not available to them – the wait is almost over! The new Focus ST will offer
exactly the same exciting driving experience wherever it's on sale," added Capito.
More Performance – and More Economy – from Ford EcoBoost Power
At the heart of the appeal of the next-generation Focus ST is a high-output 250 PS
derivative of the efficient and advanced new 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost four-cylinder petrol
Succeeding the turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder unit of the current European model, this
unique 250 PS Ford EcoBoost engine is being specially developed for the new Focus ST to
ensure that the car gets the muscular performance – and the inspirational sound – which it
deserves. It also marks the first application of the four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine in a
high performance model.
Compared to the 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost engine used in other Ford vehicles, the 250 PS
unit features re-designed intake and exhaust systems and a unique engine calibration to
deliver the desired level of power and responsiveness. The engine retains the strong torque
delivery which is a feature of Ford EcoBoost designs, with a broad, flat torque curve
offering a maximum output of 360 Nm.
One of a completely new generation of downsized, high-efficiency, low-CO2 petrol engines
from Ford, the 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost is a lightweight, all-aluminium design which
combines three technologies – high-pressure direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging and
twin independent variable cam timing – to create an advanced combustion system which
brings new levels of performance and fuel efficiency to petrol engines in this power range.
This ultra efficient 250 PS engine therefore not only delivers over 10 per cent more power
and torque than the current 2.5-litre unit, it is also estimated to reduce fuel consumption and
CO2 emissions by more than 20 per cent.
The standard transmission for the Focus ST is a 6-speed manual gearbox, optimised with
more sporting ratios carefully matched to the performance characteristics of the engine.
Genuine Performance and Handling
Ford Team RS performance vehicle specialists have a mission: to ensure that the new Focus
ST delivers the pure performance and handling everyone expects from a genuine Ford ST
Compared to the standard Focus, the ST model will feature a comprehensive range of
enhancements including a chassis lowered by 10mm, a substantially different variable ratio
steering system, high performance brakes and unique suspension tuning, that will enable
the vehicle to deliver the acclaimed ST handling agility and poise.
Naturally, the ST will also benefit from the performance improvements being delivered by
the next-generation Focus vehicle architecture. Features like a stronger, stiffer body
structure, optimised front and rear suspension system designs, and a new electric power
assisted steering (EPAS) system all contribute to superior vehicle dynamics and improved
Unprecedented Level of Smart Technologies
Focus ST drivers will also be able to take advantage of the unprecedented level of smart
new technologies incorporated in Ford's latest global C-car platform, including advanced
new driver assistance, powertrain, chassis and active safety features.
Many of these features, such as the advanced new Torque Vectoring Control system –
which acts like a torque vectoring differential to enhance cornering stability and agility –
have a direct impact on improving driving quality to an even higher level.
"This is the third generation Focus ST and we are determined that the new car will continue
the strong heritage of affordable, high performance ST models into the future," said Jost
Capito. "The technology on offer with Ford's new global C-car platform will also help to
ensure that the Focus ST provides enthusiasts with an exceptional driving experience."
Unique High-Performance Exterior
The new Focus ST features a highly distinctive sports exterior, providing significant
functional and aerodynamic benefits and clearly differentiating the ST derivative from
other models in the new Focus family.
While sharing the already sleek and dynamic profile of the new Focus five-door, the ST
features unique front- and rear-end designs, together with muscular extended rocker panels
and striking new alloy wheels based on the classic Y-spoke ST pattern.
"The changes we have made to deliver superior aerodynamics and vehicle performance
have made the new Focus ST even more sporty and distinctive," explained Martin Smith,
Executive Design Director. "Exciting new design treatments at the front and rear give the
ST a much more dynamic and purposeful character, making it very clear that this is
definitely a sporting Focus."
The more sporting design language is particularly evident at the front end, where the twin
upper and lower grilles of the standard car are replaced by a prominent new one-piece
Representing the sportiest definition yet of Ford's signature trapezoidal grille, the bold onepiece
design is placed higher on the nose of the vehicle, and incorporates a distinctive
hexagonal mesh finished in high gloss black.
The front spoiler has a completely new configuration, with a deep central splitter framed by
small motorsport-inspired spoiler blades on either side, which sweep round and encompass
the fog lamps. The spoiler blades are linked to the rest of the body lines through the grille
structure, which is reminiscent of the similar treatment in the current Focus RS model.
The more assertive, sporting character of the front end is completed by details like the gloss
black finish to the headlamp bezels, and the bold red ST badge on the one-piece grille.
From the side, muscular extended rocker panels emphasise the lowered chassis, and the
bold wheel arches are filled with 19-inch alloy wheels which are the latest evolution of the
classic Y-spoke ST wheel.
Dynamic Rear End Treatment
The rear bumper and lower fascia is also completely new, with prominent diffuser-style
vents on either side which mirror the form of the front spoiler blades. Rear lamps with a
dark smoked tint enhance the sporty feel.
The new Focus ST has a high-performance exhaust system, which exits the vehicle through
a central dual-pipe outlet. The exhaust outlet has been given a highly-distinctive design
treatment with a strong kinetic form which emulates the design themes on the rest of the
The car's aerodynamic package is completed by a highly effective integrated roof spoiler,
which has been optimised to deliver improved high-speed stability and reduced drag. With
a larger, more exaggerated design than the spoiler on the current Focus ST, it incorporates
ducting to the rear screen and has been carefully integrated with the vehicle tailgate and
Dramatic New Body Colour
The Paris preview car is finished in a dramatic new 'Tangerine Scream' body colour, which
reflects the exciting and energetic new character of the Focus ST.
A spiritual successor to the signature Electric Orange finish of the current Focus ST,
Tangerine Scream is a very intense and vibrant high-saturation metallic yellow-gold tone
created using an experimental process with multiple layers of tinted lacquer.
"Such an exciting new car deserves an exciting new finish and we believe that this vibrant
new colour will prove just as memorable as Electric Orange," said Martin Smith. "You can
expect to see a very similar shade when the ST reaches the showroom."
To complement the vibrant exterior colour, the 19-inch alloy wheels have a warm, anodised
Golden Graphite finish. Their sophisticated five-spoke design is contrasted by the brake
calipers which are brightly painted in body colour.
Bold High-Contrast Sports Cockpit
The performance theme from the exterior is echoed inside the car, with a very bold highcontrast
sports cockpit featuring Recaro seats, unique instrumentation and modern, highly
Dramatically-bolstered and rally-inspired Recaro leather and fabric front seats provide an
ideal balance between sporting support and long-distance comfort, and form the centrepiece
of the cabin.
The seats are finished in high-quality Charcoal Black leather, offset by bold orange gold
panels in a neoprene fabric and vibrant yellow-gold contrast stitching. The central
Charcoal Black fabric seat panels feature a rugged embossed design in the style of a
performance tyre tread pattern. The rear Recaro seats are finished in the same distinctive
Throughout the cabin, unique details ensure that the Focus ST clearly signals its sporting
intent. Three additional gauges for turbo boost, oil pressure and oil temperature are housed
in a dedicated binnacle on the upper instrument panel; the instrument cluster features
unique ST sports graphics with red needle pointers; and the centre console has a technical
The interior has the signature ST treatment of a dark interior environment, with black
headlining, bespoke steering wheel and a gear knob featuring the ST logo, plus metal racing
The premium sports feel of the cabin is enhanced by a generous use of Charcoal Black
leather with vibrant yellow-gold contrast stitching on many of the interior surfaces,
including the seats, door panels, central armrest, steering wheel, gearshift gaiter and the top
of the instrument binnacle.
"The Focus ST will be a serious driving machine, and we have developed a purposeful
exterior combined with a cockpit that blends sporting function with impressive comfort,"
said Stephen Odell. "The approach of form following function is a key part of the ST
DNA, and we have remained true to that both inside and outside the vehicle."