Sensory satisfactions of hopping into Sport mode start with the instrument cluster — the space to the left of the speedometer switches from a plain, blue tachometer to a red-hued tacho with a gear indicator. An active noise system puts a more compelling note in the cabin, though we really wish such antics weren't necessary.
As for driving satisfaction, in addition to more cogs, the pilot benefits from faster shift times than with the Edge's usual six-speed gearbox after activating Sport mode, while standard paddle shifters enable full control of the transmission. Sharper throttle response in Sport works a more vigorous shift algorithm that holds gears longer on acceleration and through corners. Keener engine braking helps set up for corners, and hard deceleration cues the transmission to drop through gears sooner with rev-matched downshifts. Ford says there are new ESC and traction control programs, but won't tell us anything about them yet.
Speaking of brakes, an optional Performance pack swaps in front rotors "optimized for performance and cooling," which could mean they're either slotted or drilled, if not of a new compound. The front calipers wear a dust shield, and upgraded pads go on front and rear "to provide a consistent and prolonged track experience." Although we're not sure how many hard laps you'd expect from a 4,400-pound crossover with twin-pot calipers in front and a single-piston caliper in back. The stoppers hide behind 20-inch wheels as standard, the Performance Pack bolts on a set of 21s.
Everything looks good so far. If the driving pleasure can match the press release, and Ford can price it right, the Edge ST could be the bullhorn the model's been looking for. We'll look forward to more information before we get the chance to drive it later this year.