2020 Ford Focus St Specs Not that long ago, the performance hatchback segment was a sleepy backwater in the global car market. Now, however, there’s a battle raging as rival manufacturers engage in an arms race of power and technology. The new 2020 Ford Focus ST, which we’ve driven in Europe and will get here next year, is the best example yet of this escalation.
The old car was a good steer, but it spent its last few years at the blunt end of its segment in terms of performance, outgunned by rivals like the Hyundai i30N, let along the mighty Civic Type-R and Renault Megane RS.
Unsurprisingly, the new car is more powerful and quicker – we’d be amazed if it wasn’t – but it is also packed with kit to sharpen the driving experience further. The list on the petrol-powered hatch – the only variant likely to reach Australia – includes active shock absorbers and a very clever electronically controlled limited-slip differential to help it channel 206kW of power and 420Nm of torque to its front wheels.
As we’ve previously reported, the new car will also become the first ST model to be offered with an automatic transmission in Australia, but we will have to wait a while longer to tell you about it; all the cars on the launch, even in France, had the standard six-speed manual.
Ford is bucking the trend for downsized powerplants. The last ST had a 2.0-litre engine, but this one gets what is effectively a turned-sideways version of the 2.3-litre turbo four from the Mustang. This uses a low-inertia turbocharger and what’s described as an anti-lag system, although one that doesn’t have the fusillade of pops and crackles of a Group A rally car – rather it keeps the throttle open slightly during hard upchanges to keep boost pressures high.
The Blue Oval makes some great cars, and the Focus ST has been one of the most fun hot hatchbacks for some time now. With 252 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbocharged mill, the front-wheel-drive Focus ST once again does battle with the German benchmark and class-leader – the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The Ford has a wonderful, possibly better chassis, but what you get in handling you usually give back in ride comfort. The ST also has another competitor, from within its own stable: the all-wheel-drive Focus RS. So is the ST as brilliant as the GTI or has the RS made the ST obsolete?
SPECIFICATION: 2020 Ford Focus St Specs
Engine: 2261cc, four-cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power: 206kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 420Nm @ 3000–4000rpm
0–100km/h: 5.7sec (claimed)
Top speed: 250km/h (limited)
Economy: 7.9L/100km (NEDC)
CO2: 179g/km (NEDC)