Ford is fighting back in the hot hatch stakes – with a new version of the Focus ST made for track driving. Circuit aficionados who love to set up their car with bespoke suspension settings, this is the machine for you.
Secret of the new £35,785 Focus ST Edition is its Ford Performance-tuned adjustable coilover suspension system. Fresh out of the box, complete with 10mm lower ride height, 50 per cent stiffer springs and lightweight alloy wheels (they reduce unsprung mass by 10 per cent at each corner), the ST Edition is the most dynamic and agile ST ever, according to Ford.
That’s just for starters. You can perfect your car’s handling for any given track by tailoring the twin-tube stainless steel dampers via 12 bounce and 16 rebound settings. The system, provided by motorsport specialists KW Automotive, also allows for the body to be dropped by a further 20mm.
To help you get the best out of the fine tuning, Ford provides a technical manual with the car with recommended suspension settings for a variety of driving conditions – including a dedicated setting for the Nürburgring.
That begs a question: who will be first to post a time at the Nordschleife in the ST Edition? And will it beat the front-drive lap record of 7m 40.1s set by the Renault Megane RS Trophy R?
One thing potentially not in the ST Edition’s favour is its standard power output: the turbo 2.3-litre engine puts out the same 280PS (209kW) as any ST – and alas not the 365PS (272kW) of the Mountune Focus ST that was recently unveiled. Acceleration is the same as before, with 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds.
Other things that haven’t changed are the ST’s six-speed manual gearbox and its hydraulically-activated electronic limited-slip differential and selectable drive modes, including a track setting that reins in ESC intervention. High geared (just two turns between locks) electric power steering and the ST’s performance braking (330mm front, 302mm rears) feature in this super-ST.
You’ll spot the ST Edition from the exclusive Azura Blue paint job, its high gloss black detailing, special ST badging and, inside, part-leather Recaro sports seats.
“The Focus ST Edition takes the hot hatchback to a new level of handling precision and control,” Ford Performance manager Stefan Muenzinger tells us.
Well, okay, sure, but can it walk the talk? Do we have here a new front-drive hero of the Nürburgring? Someone will have to take it to Germany to find out…