Building on accomplished Ford Focus driving dynamics, the new Focus ST was developed to blend B-road fun-to-drive, legitimate track-day performance, and everyday usability better than any vehicle in its class.
The SLA suspension configuration helps optimise the vehicle’s responses to driver inputs without sacrificing comfort, and includes a unique geometry for estate models that repositions the dampers, helping the vehicle remain nimble and responsive even when fully loaded. The agile and energetic character of the standard Focus is retained using the original spring specifications, with damping stiffness increased up to 20 per cent at the front and 13 per cent at the rear, while ride height is reduced by 10mm, to improve road-holding and response in performance driving scenarios.
Ford’s sophisticated CCD technology is offered as part of the Performance Pack for five-door EcoBoost models, and every two milliseconds monitors suspension, body, steering and braking inputs to adjust damping responses.
The driving experience is further enhanced using eLSD technology for Focus ST 2.3-litre EcoBoost models. Incorporated into the transmission, the system uses hydraulically activated clutches to limit the engine torque delivered to a wheel that has reduced traction on the road surface, and redistributes up to 100 per cent of available torque to the wheel with more traction to counteract wheelspin that can hamper acceleration through, and out of, corners.
The Borg Warner-developed technology is faster to deploy and offers greater precision than a traditional mechanical LSD. The system can pre-emptively adjust torque distribution using inputs from powertrain and vehicle dynamics sensors, rather than responding to wheelspin as it occurs, and can gradually apply differential locking for fine-tuning performance.
Focus ST 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel models feature Torque Vectoring Control technology, which improves road holding and reduces understeer by applying brake force to the inside front wheel when cornering.
The all-new Focus ST steals Ford’s fastest-steering-response crown from the acclaimed Fiesta ST. The electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system is 15 per cent faster than the standard Focus, requiring just two turns lock-to-lock.
Class-leading connected feel is supported by unique steering knuckle geometry, with a rod attachment point 9mm further forward and 6.5mm higher than the standard Focus for sharper responses. New Steering Torque Disturbance Reduction software for EPAS also helps reduce torque steer, making it even easier to deploy the Focus ST’s power and torque via bespoke-specification Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
Larger front and rear brake components provide the foundation for a high performance braking system with improved stopping power and fade resistance. Front disc dimensions have grown to 330mm x 27mm and feature dual-piston callipers. Rear discs now measure 302mm x 11mm. Focus ST braking performance was verified using the same demanding test procedures as the Ford GT supercar, and achieved almost four-times the fade resistance performance of the previous generation Focus ST in testing.
The C2 architecture’s Electric Brake Booster (EBB) further demonstrates its advantages in the Focus ST application. The technology builds brake pressure faster than a hydraulic system for a more connected, confident and consistent pedal feel across a broader range of operating conditions. For the Focus ST, this means the system can both mitigate for changes in braking behaviour experienced during high performance driving, and can adjust the braking feel and dynamics to match the selected Drive Mode.
Focus ST features three drive modes as standard - Slippery/Wet, Normal, Sport and – for models equipped with the Performance Pack – Track Drive Modes adjust eLSD, CCD, EPAS, throttle mapping, automatic transmission shift scheduling, electronic stability control, electronic sound enhancement (ESE) and climate settings to suit the driving scenario. A dedicated “Sport” button on the flat-bottomed steering wheel gives direct access to Sport mode, and an additional “Mode” button allows drivers to quickly scroll through the drive mode options.
“Selecting Track mode instantly makes braking response more direct and edgy; introduces higher steering efforts for more feedback; tunes the throttle to be more aggressive; instructs the eLSD to deliver maximum traction; and gives drivers more leeway within the ESC system,” said David Put, Ford Performance vehicle dynamics. “Drivers can have full confidence in the Focus ST’s ability to deliver on the track.”
The traditional Focus ST gauge cluster benefits from a contemporary execution inspired by the Ford GT. Digital turbocharger boost pressure, oil pressure and oil temperature gauges are now displayed in a bespoke Ford Performance screen on the instrument display. Launch Control for consistently fast standing starts on track is also delivered via the Performance Pack for 2.3-litre EcoBoost models.