Hot on the heels of last week’s reveal of the redesigned Ford Focus comes the first spy shots of a prototype for the car’s sporty ST variant.
Caught testing on the Nürburgring and on some of the German race track’s surrounding roads, the new Focus ST looks to follow a familiar path in terms of styling although the same is unlikely to be true for the mechanicals.
We’ve heard that a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 could replace the current model’s 2.0-liter turbo-4, but with output rising to as much as 275 horsepower, up from the current model’s 252 hp. Making that possible is said to be an improved turbocharging system.
Another difference with the new Focus ST could be the availability of an 8-speed automatic as an alternative to a standard 6-speed manual. The current model comes exclusively with a manual. Drive should still be to the front wheels only, however.
Underpinning the new Focus is Ford’s next-generation modular platform for small cars. In the regular Focus the chassis and suspension design ups torsional rigidity by 20 percent compared to the last Focus, and this bodes well for the new Focus ST’s ride and handling.
All versions of the new Focus receive a color touchscreen at the top of the dash and Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of electronic driver aids. In the ST, expect some special extras like Recaro front seats, ST badging, and perhaps additional performance options for the driving modes selector.
Although the new Focus goes on sale in most markets later this year, we won’t see it until the second half of 2019. The new Focus ST should be ready by then meaning we could see it arrive alongside the regular Focus as a 2020 model.
Ford will source the new Focus from plants in China and Germany for the United States. It’s likely the ST variant will come from the German plant, located in Saarlouis.
Also in the pipeline should be a new generation of the Focus RS. This model likely isn’t due for quite a few years, however.