3. November 2011
Ford may not be all things to all people, but it surely seems to be working hard in that direction.
Yesterday it announced that it is opening up its reservation list for the 2012 Focus Electric. This is an all-electric vehicle, not a hybrid, with lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged in just over three hours with a 240-volt charging station.
Today it announced that next year the Ford Focus ST, the kind of car that has been familiar to performance enthusiasts in Europe for some time, is going to be made available in North America.
Ford Focus ST
The Focus ST was developed by a team consisting of staff from Ford’s European Team RS and Ford’s U.S. Special Vehicles Team (SVT). The Ford Global Performance Vehicles Group is headed by Jost Capito. The “ST” in the moniker stands for “Sport Technologies.”
The ST badge is planned for vehicles in addition to the forthcoming five-door Focus. Vehicles so designated will have modifications made to their steering, driving dynamics, sound quality, and powertrain.
The Focus ST has a 2.0-liter EcoBoost, providing some 250 hp, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It is a four-cylinder engine.
Which leads to the aforementioned sound quality. “People loved the sound of the previous Focus ST,” said Capito. He is referring to the European Focus ST. It had a five-cylinder engine. “The physics and acoustics of a five-cylinder engine compared to a four-cylinder are very different,” said Capito, “but like Beethoven and Mozart—both of whom created fantastic, yet very different music—we believe the engine note of the new Focus ST will delight enthusiasts in the same way.” The exhaust system is also tuned to sound euphonious.
An electric power-assisted steering system is used. There is a vario-ratio steering rack. As the car is front-drive, there is aggressive tuning of torque steer compensation capability to make sure that the driver isn’t having an untoward time grappling with the steering wheel under hard acceleration. There is a three-mode, selectable electronic stability control system, as well. There is torque vectoring control that aids in hard cornering.
Upgraded shocks and springs are deployed, and the rear suspension of the conventional Focus has been revised, such as with uprated suspension knuckles and a newly designed anti-roll bar.
Design changes were made to the front and rear bumpers. A rear spoiler and side skirts were added to the vehicle. Also, there are center-exit tailpipes with a surround designed to echo the hexagonal mesh on the front bumper.
This is the Ford Fiesta ST Concept. That’s concept, as it is not announced for production. At least not yet. As Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, noted, “The Fiesta has a rich history of high-performance models so a new ST performance model is a logical next step in our performance vehicle strategy for our global small cars.” Kuzak is an engineer. Kuzak is logical. Draw your own conclusion.