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From California Freeways to German Nürburgring
New Ford Focus ST prototype testing underway
Preparing for its global launch from early next year

All-new Ford Focus ST (front).

All-new Ford Focus ST (rear).

All-new Ford Focus ST: 250PS (246 hp) from a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine with direct injection.

12 May 2011 : First, the Paris Motor Show welcomed last October (2 to 17) the high performance version of Ford's new generation Focus, with the world premiere of the powerful 250 PS Focus ST.

Then, during the launch of the new compact (lower medium, C segment) Ford Focus this year, preparations were accelerating with the new Focus ST version, the first high-performance model developed under Ford's global Performance Vehicles strategy, before its global launch from early next year with the 250PS (246 hp) 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine (direct injection).

Development of Ford’s new Focus ST remained on track as engineers put prototypes through hard tests of performance, fuel economy, suspension, wheels and tyres, exhaust and the rest of the torture menu.

Testing pre-production versions of the all-new Focus ST in Germany

Testing the new Focus ST in Germany, pre-production versions.

Ford announced precisely that its Team RS and SVT engineering teams are testing a fleet of around 60 pre-production prototypes in Europe (opposite picture) and North America, to develop and fine-tune the car’s driving dynamics and performance. The challenge is even bigger this time, as the ST performance badge will be brought for the first time to North American and Asian customers.

These prototypes are based on standard new Focus vehicles and, in some cases, prior-generation Focus ST models.

2007 Ford Focus ST (front-side view)

2006 Ford Focus ST (rear-side view)

2007 Ford Focus ST (top) and 2006.

“The new Focus ST... our first global performance model... must live up to Ford’s reputation for producing affordable yet exciting and sporty versions of its smaller cars (which) can also be used every day”, said Jost Capito, Ford’s director of Global Performance Vehicles.

“We’ve done all the engineering groundwork, and now we’re using some of the most demanding roads we can find in Europe and North America to validate and fine tune the performance and driving dynamics”, added Capito.

The new Focus ST will be powered by a high-performance version of Ford’s new 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine, targeting 250 PS (246 hp), while still delivering significantly better fuel economy than the previous generation Focus ST sold in Europe.

Recently, the development team completed cold weather testing in northern Europe, as well as other tests and exercises to refine steering performance.

Interior details of the all-new Ford Focus ST (dashboard).

Interior details of the all-new Ford Focus ST (console, audio, multimedia monitor and and gear stick)

Interior details of the all-new Ford Focus ST (front seats backs)

Interior details of the all-new Ford Focus ST (prototypes) .

“We’re sweating all the details – fine-tuning, testing, and fine tuning again many of the small but critical details to make sure it is worthy of the ST badge,” said Matthias Tonn, chief program engineer, Global Performance Products, Ford of Europe.

Ford says that with the new Focus ST, a key focal point for the development team is to deliver an even more engaging driver experience, from its specifically tuned Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system to the driver-orientated seats.

That's why, for instance, the driver of the new Focus ST "will sit lower. The new seats which will provide even more support", Tonn said.

“For enthusiasts in North America and Asia who have asked why our compact performance models were not available to them, well, the wait is almost over,” Capito said. “The new Focus ST will offer exactly the same exciting driving experience wherever it’s on sale.”

“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.

From a wider perspective, the Focus is Ford's most significant car (see also the new airbag technologies announced for the new Focus).

Developed at Ford's Global centre for Small Cars in Germany for sale in over 120 markets worldwide, the new generation model is the most important Focus yet and is based on Ford Motor Company's new global C segment platform with up to 80 per cent parts commonality around the world.

The new Ford Focus platform will underpin at least ten vehicles globally and is expected to account for some two million units of annual production by 2012.

Regular updates about the new Focus ST can be followed on the official Ford Focus Facebook page.

 

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