Em­brace a sporty ad­di­tion

Ford has launched the highly an­tic­i­pated Fo­cus ST range

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - MO­TOR NEWS RE­PORTER

ANY petrol head will tell you that Ford has an il­lus­tri­ous his­tory when it comes to per­for­mance mod­els. From the early Es­cort Mex­ico and RS2000 to the iconic Es­cort and Sierra Cos­worths and more re­cently, the Fo­cus ST and RS, the blue oval has cre­ated some true sports cars from what were es­sen­tially fam­ily hatch­backs and sedans.

The RS badge, or Ral­lye Sport, only ap­pears oc­ca­sion­ally these days, with ST (Sports Tech­nolo­gies) be­ing the more read­ily avail­able mod­els. A new Fi­esta ST is wait­ing in the wings, but its larger brother, the Fo­cus ST has now been launched in SA and will go on sale next month to take on the likes of the Volk­swa­gen Golf GTi, Re­nault Me­gane RS and Alfa Romeo Gi­uli­etta.

Equipped with a 184kW 2.0l tur­bocharged EcoBoost engine, the new ST is claimed to hit 100km/h in 6.5 sec­onds and has a top speed of 248km/h. The com­pany is also claim­ing a com­bined con­sump­tion fig­ure of 7.2l/100km and CO emis­sions of 169g/km. As well as styling up­dates, the chas­sis and sus­pen­sion have also been en­hanced along with some of the driver dy­nam­ics set­tings and the six-speed man­ual gear­box.

“The new Fo­cus ST will be avail­able in 40 coun­tries around the world as Ford’s first global per­for­mance car. As such it has been highly an­tic­i­pated and we are ex­tremely ex­cited to in­tro­duce it here in SA and al­low Ford fans the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence the true essence of what the ST badge rep­re­sents,” says Ford mar­ket­ing man­ager Gavin Go­lightly.

The One Ford ap­proach to de­liv­er­ing an all-new, global Ford Fo­cus paved the way for the new ST. Ford’s Global Per­for­mance Ve­hi­cles group es­tab­lished the DNA of the ST as a key part of its global per­for­mance car strat­egy fol­low­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Ford Team RS in Europe, and the Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles Team (SVT) in the US. Ford en­gi­neers from the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion also pro­vided in­put.

“Ford’s per­for­mance strat­egy is based on the fact that per­for­mance fans glob­ally want the same thing. As a re­sult de­sign­ers fo­cused on com­bin­ing a re­ward­ing driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with the abil­ity to en­joy the car on a day-to­day ba­sis,” says Go­lightly.

“Ev­ery de­tail has been con­sid­ered, in­clud­ing op­ti­mis­ing the sporty sound oc­cu­pants ex­pe­ri­ence. It leaves the driver in no doubt that this is a spe­cial car,” he says. The ex­haust sys­tem, with a unique twin hexag­o­nal cen­tre ex­haust tailpipe, has also been tuned to de­liver the right sound at the right time, re­fined at lower revs and a pur­pose­ful growl as the revs rise.

The new Sport Steer­ing Sys­tem vari­able ra­tio steer­ing rack re­duces steer­ing sen­si­tiv­ity when driv­ing in a straight line and in­creases sen­si­tiv­ity when cor­ner­ing. The Elec­tronic Power As­sisted Steer­ing sys­tem has been spe­cially cal­i­brated for the new model and is claimed to de­tect and counter torque steer us­ing a more ag­gres­sively pitched ver­sion of Ford’s Torque Steer Com­pen­sa­tion. It also fea­tures Torque Vec­tor­ing Con­trol, which ap­plies brake torque to the in­ner wheel through a cor­ner to re­duce un­der­steer. Cor­ner­ing Un­der Steer Con­trol, ap­plies torque to cre­ate yaw torque based on the ve­hi­cle’s un­der steer be­hav­iour prior to ESP, both in power-on and power-off con­di­tions.

The sus­pen­sion has also been en­hanced cour­tesy of up­rated shock ab­sorbers and springs, which lower the chas­sis by 10mm, as well as new sus­pen­sion knuck­les and a new anti-roll bar. The ST also gets spe­cially de­vel­oped Goodyear Ea­gle rub­ber.

The in­te­rior fea­tures a spe­cial­ly­de­signed steer­ing wheel, gearshift and ped­als. The Re­caro seats have been de­signed to of­fer more com­fort and sup­port. Trim op­tions in­clude ST1 and ST3. The ST1 of­fers key­less start, a tyre de­fla­tion de­tec­tion sys­tem and cruise con­trol. The ST3 model adds auto fold­ing mir­rors, key­less en­try, rain sen­si­tive wipers and bi-Xenon head­lamps in­clud­ing LED day­time run­ning lights, auto-dim­ming rear view mir­ror and au­to­matic wipers.

Ford Sync is also avail­able, which pro­vides hands-free, voice-ac­ti­vated in- car con­nec­tiv­ity. The sys­tem al­lows you to con­nect a com­pat­i­ble cell­phone via Blue­tooth or USB. It al­lows the driver to make calls via voice com­mands and steer­ing wheel mounted au­dio con­trols. It also con­nects calls seam­lessly into/out of the ve­hi­cle and trans­fers all call data to the Fo­cus ST.

The Fo­cus ST is priced at R309,530 for the ST1 spec­i­fi­ca­tion and R353,700 for the ST3 spec. All mod­els are five door ver­sions and in­clude a fiveyear/90,000km ser­vice plan.

Ford has launched the new Fo­cus ST with a raft of up­dates, and its in­te­rior has been tai­lored to meet the sporty ST genre.

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