A sharper looks, improved cabin design, revised handling and more tech are in store for the forthcoming LZ Focus ST.
When the LZ-gen Focus ST goes on sale May 1, it will list for $38,990, a modest $700 price hike over the outgoing version. This still makes it, in the context of the current hot hatch climate, something of a bargain – it undercuts the Golf GTi by around three grand.
Under the bonnet the new ST is a case of nothing broken, doesn't need fixing. The 2.0-litre turbo four remains at 184kW (at 5500rpm) and 340Nm (2000-4500rpm) while offering an extra 20Nm on selective overboost. The front-driver is also available in six-speed-manual form only.
Stop-start has been added to ST for the first time, helping to achieve a 7.3L/100km claim.
New is the exterior styling, which Ford calls “sportier and more athletic” but we’ll add is also suitably sharper and more mature. A new dark grey colour, called Stealth, and a fresh, dark Deep Impact Blue hue have been added to the now seven-string range of body colours.
The cleaner cabin design add a further sheen of maturity to the ST, while plenty of sporty accoutrements – Recaro buckets, a flat-bottom steering wheel, the ST signature ‘gauge bank’ – remain hallmarks of the package, and the latest Sync 2 infotainment has been introduced.
The suspension has copped a complete overhaul, including new front springs, new dampers all ’round and revised bushings, while the otherwise carryover electric power steering system has been recalibrated for a sportier feel.
The stability control is said to have received similar attention is now claimed to be able to 'predict' when a loss of control is going to occur and react accordingly.
Further tech updates include Adaptive Front Lighting for the Bi-Xenon HID headlights and a ($2000 optional) Technology Pack that adds a suite of safety equipment such as Active City Stop, Lane Keeping Aid, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Auto High Beams.
The front-driven Focus ST will be the top-dog hatch from Ford until the hard-core all-paw RS arrives early next year.
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