RICK KRANZ

Ford's hot Focus, Act 2

The Focus ST is the end result of the automaker's One Ford philosophy.

Photo credit: Ford
Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.
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DETROIT -- It was about 10 years ago that I attended an event in California to experience Ford's hot new car, the Focus SVT.

The 2002 Focus SVT was a high-performance pocket rocket that was developed and sold in the United States until the end of the 2004 model year. It was an exciting car for its time. But it pales in comparison to the specifications for the Focus ST unveiled last week at the Frankfurt motor show, identified as the automaker's first global performance car.

During the Focus SVT era, "high performance" was relegated to a 170-hp 2.0-liter, dual overhead, four-cylinder engine with 145 pounds-feet of torque. The engine was developed with Cosworth Technology.

The car handled and braked well, and the engine developed pretty good low-end torque. I remember enjoying the car as I put it through its paces on a track. The car, a three-door hatchback, was created by Ford's Special Vehicle Team in the United States.

After an absence of eight years, Focus will once again have a performance car, this time a five-door hatchback. The Focus ST is the end result of the automaker's One Ford philosophy. Ford's Team RS in Europe and the Special Vehicle Team in Michigan created the car. Sales begin next year and are planned in over 40 markets.

The ST is powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that produces 246-hp and 265 pounds-feet of torque. The engine incorporates high-pressure, direct injection, low-inertia turbocharging and twin-independent variable cam timing.

Additionally, electronic controls work with the brake system to reduce understeer, and the power steering controls counteract torque steer.

The car has a long list of standard equipment, too.

Ford won't talk about Focus ST pricing. But Jost Capito, Ford's director of global performance vehicles and motorsport development, suggested in Frankfurt that the base price would be in the low- to mid-20s. I spoke to him last week at the Frankfurt motor show.

Based on specs, the Focus ST sounds like a hot car with a cool price.

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