Ollie Marriage13 September 2011

Frankfurt 2011: the Ford Focus ST

247bhp four-pot screamer arrives in hatch and ST Wagon guise, plus ST-R for racers...

Ford Focus ST

We like hot Fords. Particularly when they come in garish colours and pack a confirmed, production-ready 247bhp. That's right, the Focus ST is nearly here and it will be available in this, um, rather fetching, shade called Tangerine Scream. Other colours are available. Well, red, white and blue.

Aside from the new colour, the move from concept to showroom-ready hasn't resulted in many changes at all. The engine packs the promised 247bhp and being a four cylinder, rather than the full fat five of the old ST, is around 20 per cent cleaner and more efficient, so expect economy and CO2 figures of around 36.5mpg and 185g/km.

See pics of the new Ford Focus ST, ST Wagon and ST-R

But a four cylinder is never going to sound as fruity as a five is it? That's our concern, but Ford insists it's spent much time and effort tuning the noise, comparing the five cylinder to Beethoven and the four cylinder to Mozart. Hmm. We were hoping for a touch of Led Zeppelin.

No matter, the new ST has a six speed manual gearbox and 265lb ft of torque, which (although Ford was being coy about performance) should be good for a 155mph top whack and 0-60mph in the low sixes. The ST will also sport a fairly alarming number of acronyms: SSS, TSC, ESP, EDCC, ETVC, CUSC. These all have something to do with the driving and are promised to enhance the experience. This isn't always true.

Three versions will be offered, a base level ST1 with Recaro seats and keyless system, followed by a partially leather'd and twin zone climated ST2, then a flagship ST3 with bi-xenon and a Recaro rear bench. No word on prices, but we reckon the Focus ST2 will line-up again the Renaultsport Megane 250 and VW Golf GTI, both of which cost within a whisker of £25,000. ST1 will be a bit less, ST3 a bit... you get the picture. One option will be a performance pack, which paints the 18-inch alloys black and gives you red brake calipers, too.

Those of us in Europe will also get the option of an ST Wagon, which gets the same 10mm suspension drop as the hatch, and all told the Focus ST, being a world car, is expected to go on sale in almost identical form in 40 countries across six continents. All very admirable.

There's something else too. An ST-R. We could build this up and say it's the third coming of the RS, a stripped-out, hardcore, track-focussed ST. But it isn't. It's a racing version designed primarily for American privateers. But it is expected to compete in Europe, and who knows, hopefully someone clever will figure out a way to turn it into a road car before too long.

In other news - other end of the performance scale news - Ford has also announced another new engine for the Focus. A 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo Ecoboost with either 100bhp or 120bhp. It's more interesting than it sounds actually, mainly because it delivers under 120g/km and all 125lb ft from a mere 1300rpm. And being a three cylinder may actually sound as fruity as the new ST. We hope not, but we fear it might be possible. Both should be here before the end of the year, fingers crossed.

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