If you happen to see a new Ford Focus featuring an eye-watering paint job, it’s unlikely to be a new limited edition tie-in between Ford and Tracey Emin. Far more likely is that it’s one of the fleet of Ford Focus ST prototypes that are pounding the highways of the world in a punishing testing regime, prior to the ST’s launch next year.
At this moment there are 60 pre-production prototypes cruising around Europe and North America, with Ford’s Team RS and SVT engineering teams fine-tuning the car’s handling and performance.
“The new Focus ST is eagerly awaited around the world, which is appropriate as this is our first global performance model,” said Jost Capito, Ford’s director of Global Performance Vehicles. “It must live up to Ford’s reputation for producing affordable yet exciting and sporty versions of its smaller cars that reward and delight enthusiast drivers, but can also be used every day.
As you’re more than likely aware the new Focus ST is downsizing its 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine to one of Ford’s new Ecoboost range. The plan is for this new 2.0-litre turbocharged powerplant to provide even more performance than before, with 250PS as the target, and yet return much-improved fuel economy.
The Focus ST engineers are keen to improve on the strengths of the old model and deliver an even more engaging ride, and that even extends to the seats.
“The seats and seating position were very good in the previous Focus ST, but the new model is sleeker and the driver will sit lower. The new seats which will provide even more support,” Tonn said.
“Like the Focus ST and RS models before it, the new Focus ST’s final set-up will be achieved after painstaking tuning on some of the most demanding roads we can find from California to the Nürburgring, and from high-speed German autobahns to classic British B-roads,” Capito added.