FOCUS ST: A NEW ERA FOR FORD PERFORMANCE

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  • All-new ST performance model joins Focus line-up
  • Developed by Ford TeamRS – by enthusiasts for enthusiasts
  • Turbocharged Duratec ST, 166kW 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine
  • Gutsy 320 Nm of torque from 1600 rpm right through to 4000 rpm
  • Exceptional handling attributes and outstanding road holding
  • Focus ST is agile, fast, powerful, but still practical for everyday driving

PERFORMANCE TECHNOLOGY

Thanks to Ford’s Global Shared Technologies initiative, engineers were able to choose an already silky smooth 5-cylinder petrol engine as the basis for the Focus ST power plant.

Powered by a 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged mill, the Focus ST can lay claim to being the most powerful Ford Focus road car to date. It produces a peak power of 166kW and offers a torque peak of 320Nm.

Mated to a slick-shifting six-speed transmission the Focus ST sprints from 0-100 km/h in just 6.8 seconds and can reach a top speed of 240km/h. The torquey ST not only impresses in outright acceleration but demonstrates impressive flexibility too, accelerating from 50km/h to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds, in fourth gear.

This engine, featuring Ford’s Ti-VCT technology (twin independent variable cam timing), has been tuned to be sharper and livelier for its application in the Focus ST.  Reduced flywheel mass, more direct accelerator-throttle connection, new injectors and new ignition strategies were part of the significant re-engineering programme.

The ST reaches its maximum power output of 166 kW at 6000 rpm while the maximum 320 Nm of torque is available from 1600 rpm and doesn’t let up until it reaches 4000 rpm.

The engine’s state-of-the-art light alloy cylinder block is bolted onto the ladder-shaped, cast aluminium bedplate, anchoring it like a rock. This combination provides the six crankshaft bearings with solid support. Well-balanced thermal conditions around the five combustion chambers are assured by a tried and tested feature of racing engines: cross-flow cooling, which sends the cooling water broadside through the engine.

The alloy cylinder head is also at the cutting edge of technology. Two belt-driven overhead camshafts actuate tappets controlling 4 valves per cylinder. The intake valve diameter is 31 mm, while the outlet valve diameter is 27 mm. Both camshafts can be continuously fine-tuned by 50 degrees on the intake side and by 30 degrees on the exhaust side.  This allows more useable torque, especially at low engine speeds, and reduces fuel consumption while maintaining clean exhaust emissions over the entire engine load range.

A Bosch ME 9.0 engine management system is in charge of the cam-variation’s hydraulic valve operation, the ignition timing and fuel injection.

CHASSIS DYNAMICS
The Ford Focus has long since received high praise for its outstanding chassis dynamics.

After several years of experience with the ‘Control Blade’ rear suspension, pioneered by the original Focus, the Ford Vehicle Engineering team concentrated on enhancing the chassis rather than starting all over again.  A stiff new front and rear sub frame became the foundation for the chassis of the new Focus; with extensive tuning being carried out to meet today’s standards.

Focus ST uses the core model’s front axle which has transverse control arms and spring struts built according to the MacPherson principle.  Ford was the first to introduce MacPherson struts to mass-produced cars in the 1950’s and still believes in them today.

The already stiff body shell of the new Focus was strengthened further for the ST version: an extra cross-member was added running across the bulkhead between the spring strut covers in the engine bay. The dimensions of the ST’s springs were calculated so that they still travel roughly 200 millimetres in total, even though the car sits 15 millimetres closer to the road than the standard Focus.

This lower ride height is combined with firmer and shorter positive spring travel but, in proportion, negative spring travel is increased.  Since the overall spring travel is greater, the tyres of the Focus ST maintain greater contact with the road surface – “over the full extent of the negative jounce,” in engineering jargon – optimising road holding, even under the worst road conditions.

The concept of controlling rear wheel travel with a multilink-suspension first appeared in the Mondeo, excelled in the first Focus in its ‘Control Blade’ guise, and is back again in the new model Focus.

The rear axle has been fine-tuned using stiffer rubber housings for the lower control arms, while axle geometry has been adjusted to cope with higher lateral forces.

Steering: EHPAS (Electric-Hydraulic Power Assisted Steering) has been added to the new Focus range adding comfort for slow manoeuvring and better road feedback and greater stability at high speeds.

The power assisted rack and pinion steering offered a variable turning ratio of 14.8, for the Focus ST the ratio has been adapted to suit the vehicles sporting intent. The steering acts 8% faster than any other Focus model to give the ST driver more direct feedback back through the steering wheel. This set-up gives experienced drivers two reasons to be enthusiastic: in addition to the sheer joy of precision driving, the Focus ST exhibits sympathetic road manners too.

The Variable Steering Characteristics allow the driver to choose between three modes; Sport, Standard and Comfort.

Handling: The ST’s handling has been tailored to reward the enthusiast driver but at the same time to allow for refined driving. The front springs of the Focus ST have been stiffened by 30% while the new high pressure gas monotube dampers have been recalibrated.

The rear springs have also been stiffened by 30% and the anti-roll bar increased by 5%.  The direct benefit of this is that Focus ST delivers impressive grip and extraordinary road holding. Overall, the lowering of the chassis adds to the great driving experience.

Brakes: The Focus ST is equipped with a high-performance braking system: four-piston brake callipers bite into 320 millimetre ventilated brake discs at the front, while at the rear two-piston brake callipers combine with 280 millimetre discs.

In addition, Ford’s Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) offers safe and controllable braking under extreme conditions.  Ford’s Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) system is also available on the Focus ST.  ESP intervenes in critical handling situations, assisting the driver by braking individual wheels as needed.

Noise and vibration: The Focus ST is designed to maximise the sensory connection between car and driver, so it’s Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) package is carefully tuned with this in mind. The objective is to provide a pleasing yet sporty sound quality, tuned to its driver’s needs while at the same time embracing the higher levels of refinement evident in the cars interior.

Safety:   Like all Ford Focus models, the Focus ST boasts a comprehensive safety package.  Features include a rigid passenger cell, footwell protection, a collapsible steering wheel and pedals, and side impact protection door beams. Among the passive safety systems are driver and passenger front and side airbags, standard inflatable side curtains airbags for front and rear-seat occupants, pyrotechnic belt pre-tensioners and neck injury protection systems on the front seats.

When the new Focus was initially internationally introduced it was the first and only vehicle to be awarded by EuroNCAP a 100 per cent occupant safety rating for both offset frontal and side impact test modes.  It also achieved a 100 per cent test score for child dynamic injury protection for 1½ and 3 year old child crash test dummies.  No other car has achieved this outstanding safety performance in any Euro NCAP test phase.

UNIQUE STYLING
Exterior
The Focus ST’s performance credentials are immediately evident thanks to its distinctive design cues that are reminiscent of Ford’s World Rally Championship contenders.

The simple elegance of the new Focus clearly follows the design mandate and the intention of Chris Clements, TeamRS Chief Designer, to cultivate a grown-up look for the Ford compact, befitting its status as the bigger brother of the Fiesta ST.

There is no denying that the Focus ST has been designed with the enthusiast in mind. It takes the clean, dynamic lines of the new Focus a stage further without losing sight of its foundations.  With its lower ride height, the ST states its intentions clearly on low-profile 225/40 R18 tyres mounted on 18×8-inch cast aluminium wheels.

At the front, the unique front bumper with its aggressive inverted trapezoid lower grille gives the Focus ST a low stance. The upper grille is also unique to ST, and is taller and narrower than that of other Focus models. Both upper and lower grilles feature a graphite mesh with a signature triangular pattern.

Flanking the top of the lower grille, fog lamp openings are trimmed in brushed aluminium. At the rear, the reverse and rear fog lamps feature similar treatment, while the lower bumper has been sculpted to create a visual ‘venturi effect’ from which the chrome-tipped dual sport exhausts emerge.   As the rear bumper folds around to the rear wheel arches, subtle ‘spats’ have been added to enhance the side profile of the ST.

Specially shaped sill mouldings – aligned with the chin of the front bumper – further communicate the low centre of gravity and enhanced agility of the Focus ST.  Neat attention to detail in the form of special ST badges on the front wings and the highly sculpted, five-spoke wheels with low-profile tyres further distinguish the ST model and communicate its dynamism.
In addition the Focus ST also sports a larger, more pronounced tailgate spoiler. Shaped for both aerodynamic and visual effect, the spoiler extends beyond the width of the tailgate to just above the high-mounted tail lamps of the Focus.

Lastly the ST boasts body coloured; spoiler, door handles, mirrors and body side mouldings, to complete the sporting theme of the ST.

Interior
While the exterior of the Focus ST clearly signals its performance credentials, the interior further communicates that this is no ordinary Ford Focus.

Seating: On opening the door of the Focus ST, the driver will be greeted by a warm and inviting ambience, but with bold and sporty cues throughout. Subtle styling cues, such as the distinctive stitch lines which characterize the sporting leather seats, have been used to enhance the interior appeal.

Uniquely styled Recaro seats are standard on the Focus ST, and provide optimal lateral support during spirited driving. The seats anchor driver and passengers in place, providing occupants with a cosseted feeling – as if the car has been built around them.

The seats boast exceptional levels of adjustment and flexibility. The driver’s seat has fore and aft movement, plus recline, height, lumbar, and cushion tilt adjustments. The passenger seat adjusts manually fore-aft and can recline.  All headrests adjust vertically.

These heavily sculpted, figure hugging seats are available with inserts matching the exterior colour of the car.  This option is available on selected colours in the Focus ST range including Performance Blue and the eye catching Electric Orange.

Full leather trim is standard on the Focus ST 5-door and optional on the Focus ST 3-door. Sculptured rear seats are also standard on both models.

Instruments: Focus ST gains a unique additional instrument pod, incorporated on the upper instrument panel, creating an immediate visual impact which instantly differentiates the ST from the standard Focus.

Key information such as turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure are clearly displayed by these easy to read instruments. The new gauges, as well as the 260km/h speedometer, rev counter, temperature and fuel gauges in the primary instrument cluster, are given a unique new graphic design ringed in aluminium opal to match other brushed aluminium interior accents.

Steering wheel/gearshift: The leather-wrapped steering wheel has an increased rim section with bold thumb grips and three brushed aluminium-finished spokes while a bold red ST logo is engraved into the centre spoke. Focus ST’s leather trimmed, brushed aluminium gear knob also features a red six-speed gate graphic.

Other interior details: Matching leather inserts differentiate the interior door panels and complement the brushed aluminium ST door pulls.  Other aluminium details inside the Focus ST include purpose-designed performance pedals with rubber pads set in cast aluminium as well as unique ST scuff plates.

Focus ST features a black headliner and black A-pillars, which further intensify the sporty ‘cockpit feel’ of the interior and provide a full colour harmony with the rest of the interior.

The Ford Focus ST features lengthy service intervals pegged at 20 000kms. This is complemented by a three-year 100 000km warranty as well as a five-year/ 100 000km corrosion warranty, and three-year/unlimited kilometres Ford Protect Roadside Assistance plan as standard.  A 60 000km / five-year Maintenance Plan is also standard.