Ahead of its launch here in 2012, Ford says the development of it’s sporty new Focus ST it is on track as their engineers in the US and Europe put prototypes through a punishing regime to hone performance and driving dynamics.
On two continents, Ford’s Team RS and SVT engineering teams are putting a fleet of around 60 pre-production prototypes through a series of tests on private circuits and public roads. The prototypes are based on standard new Focus vehicles and, in some cases, prior-generation Focus ST models.
“The new Focus ST is eagerly awaited around the world, which is appropriate as this is our first global performance model,” 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-litre EcoBoost engine, targeting an exhilarating 246 bhp, while still delivering significantly better fuel economy than the previous generation Focus ST sold in Europe.
“Fuel efficiency is a key leadership target for Ford Motor Company 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, global performance products, 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.
“We’re sweating all the details - fine-tuning, testing, and fine tuning again many of the small but critical details to make sure it is worthy of the ST badge,” Tonn said. “We will build upon and improve the ride, steering and handling strengths that defined the current European Focus ST.”
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 highly tuned Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS ) system to unique, driver-orientated seats.
The all-new Focus ST is Ford’s first global performance car, conceived under the One Ford strategy. More on the Irish specification and price closer to the launch next year.