Ford has unveiled the all-new 2019 Focus ST with incredible performance gains over the previous generation.
But it won’t come home to America, sadly.
If you want a performance Ford that’s not a Mustang or a mutant F-150, you have to go to Europe. There you can buy the Focus and Fiesta as though they never left. In fact, Ford makes a killing selling those little performance hatchbacks overseas.
The ST has since become the top-of-the-line performance model (at least, until Ford revives the RS moniker for the current generation), and Ford has unveiled a brand new Focus with some pretty impressive numbers.
From a 2.3-L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder you get 276 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. That’s not quite Civic Type-R numbers, but they’re respectable, with 24 more horses and 30 more lb-ft than the previous gen. Ford says that zero to sixty is done in under 6 seconds--just how far under six seconds is a bit of a mystery, but we’re thinking 5.7 or 5.8 based on those power figures.
Also available is a 2.0-L EcoBlue turbodiesel with 187 hp and 295 lb-ft. Because Europe loves diesel engines for some reason.
But enough about diesel, let’s talk about what’s new, starting with the first ever electronic limited slip differential in the front axle. Torque vectoring is also accomplished on the front wheels via the brakes, which are dual pistons in the front and single pistons in the rear. The brakes have also been improved to resist fading almost four times as well as the previous generation’s.
A 6-speed manual with rev-matching comes standard while a 7-speed automatic is an available extra on the 2.3-L engine Focus. That automatic “ is enhanced to offer more flexibility and the ability to differentiate between road and track use,” according to Ford, who goes on to say that it can also adapt to the driver’s habits using some spooky and unexplained technology.
For the first time, the Focus will have selectable driving modes including Normal, Slippery/Wet, Sport, and Track for those who purchase the available performance pack. These modes adjust the power steering, throttle, shifting, e-diff, suspension damping, stability control, and torque vectoring to better suit the task at hand. Sport mode is also represented by a button on the steering wheel, ensuring that fun is never more than a finger flick away.
All this sounds delightful and surely something that would sell in the US, but Ford has long since abandoned cars in favor of trucks and SUVs. A shame, since the Focus ST seems to be a type of fun that North American drivers will never know. From a domestic model, at least.