The Ford Focus ST is one of those cars that seems to have been in development for absolutely ages. Almost as long as the new Vauxhall Astra VXR. Ford have been releasing details and previewing concept cars for a couple of years and it’s still not here. To prevent any pitchfork-waving crowds gathering in front of their showrooms Ford have decided to spice up the Focus range by adding the Focus Zetec S.
The Focus Zetec S gets a new engine, unique to the model, that just happens to be the most powerful in the current lineup. The 1.6-litre Ecoboost dishes out 178bhp with the aid of a turbocharger and it’s enough to propel the Focus to 60mph in 7.9 seconds and to give it a top speed of 138mph, making it the quickest new Focus so far.
For those with a penchant for diesel there is the choice of a 162bhp 2.0-litre TDCI or a 1.6-litre diesel with 114bhp. Should you want to stick with petrol but don’t need the performance of the 178bhp engine (what, are you mad?) there’s a lesser 1.6-litre Ti-VCT petrol with 124bhp.
There’s more to the Focus Zetec S than the addition of one new engine. It builds on the features of the Zetec model and adds a body kit, 17-inch alloys and LED tail-lights. The ride is sharpened up with with stiffer springs and dampers, while the interior gets aluminium-style pedals and a Ford Power starter button.
The Focus Zetec S is priced at £1,250 more than an equivalent Zetec model, with prices starting at £18,745 for the 124bhp petrol. Ford are keen to point out that the extra features on the Zetec S would normally cost over £1,700, so in theory you’re saving nearly £500. The Zetec S also happens to be available for the same price as the Titanium model, giving buyers a simple choice between sporty or luxury.
There’s bags of technological extras on the options list, incuding the award-winning Driver Assistance Pack (lane departure warning, auto high beam, traffic sign recognition, low speed safety system and blind spot warning) or cruise control with active speed limiter. The Zetec S also comes with the option of a special interior pack that adds Inferno Red partial leather, heated front seats, a powered driver’s seat and electric rear windows for £800.
Bizarrely, because the Ecoboost engine uses Ford’s stop/start and active shutter technology it displays an ‘ECOnetic Technology’ badge on the boot, rather than ‘Zetec-S’. For a car that’s supposed to be about performance it seems strange to be showing off an eco-badge, especially when you consider how popular the Zetec-S badge has been with loyal Ford followers.
The Ford Focus Zetec S is available to order now. If you don’t want to compromise and you’d rather order an ST you’re going to have to wait until Spring 2012 at the earliest.