Offspring for the Focus. The five-door with its 2,0-liter turbo petrol engine sends quite impressive 206 kW / 280 horsepower to the front wheels and also visually differs from his brave sister models. A ride with the development chief
Good 170 kilometers from the Cologne development center to the huge test area in the Flemish pine forest. Leo Roeks has not counted how often he has already tormented by the frequent traffic jams on one of the busiest motorways that lead from Cologne to the Netherlands to the Belgian province. Standstill hurts the top manager especially when he has to exercise patience in his black Ford Mustang. The choice of his company car is not surprising, because after all, Roecks is the man with the heavy right foot, who is responsible for the pronounced sporting models of his company.
This time, the Dutchman has brought his team of engineers and test riders to the vast, well-screened terrain. It's about the latest creation from Fords Muckibude, the sporty descendant of the since last year completely new compact bestseller Focus. He may wear the letters "ST".
While Leo Roek relaxed with 200 km / h on the top track of the paved oval route with its excessive curves, the speed needle moves towards the red area, he tells about the focus of his work on the newcomer. Above all, it was about getting the customers a car with everyday qualities, in which they do not have to compromise in terms of space, comfort or service despite the sporting attributes. "In all the technical innovations of the new ST, we have always made sure that they bring the bottom line for the customer a real, tangible added value," emphasizes the engineer and turns off on a smaller circuit, which with numerous tight curves, artificial knolls and changing road surface winds through the grounds. Here he demonstrates the subtleties. For example, the electronically controlled differential lock of the front-wheel drive compact, which is first installed in a Ford. If the ST pushes across the outer front wheel in fast-moving bends, which can no longer participate in the drive, the force is passed in fractions of seconds to the inside wheel. "The system works closely with our electronic damper control," explains the sports director. "It gets its information from the chassis, the steering and the brakes and finds every two milliseconds each optimal setting of the shock absorber."
Roek demonstrates the fast-paced twist through a series of consecutive turns, the overall package of all of these, along with the extremely direct electro-mechanical power steering. "With some practice, the driver can support the steering by targeted gas shocks and come back faster after cornering". Of course, the expert also knows that hardly any of the future customers will jet unbridled by public transport. "The technology also proves itself in everyday traffic, makes the ST easily manageable and also increases comfort, for example, on a bad surface."
The mix does it. In real life, the ST is a largely normal Ford Focus, which proves itself through the week as a faithful companion with a wealth of assistance systems. If the oat itches, its future owner can sometimes turn onto a closed track, there explore his skills and click through the four settings in the menu on the central monitor. "Slippery" helps in wet or other smoothness, "normal" is for the way to work and "sport" just for romping. Who ordered the so-called performance package, then still has the mode "race track". "The brakes respond more aggressively, the accelerator pedal reacts more sensitively and the steering becomes even more direct," explains driving dynamics engineer David Put. "It also reduces the impact of the ESP to a minimum, leaving the driver more freedom to experience the potential of the ST".
The question remains whether non-racing drivers will really expose their toys, which cost well over 30.000 euros, to such dangers, if they cannot rely on the help of professionals from the Lommel team. Leo Roek, who was also involved in the development of the smaller Fiesta ST and the new Ranger Raptor sports pickup, reassures: “The history of the ST models has shown that customers appreciate the capabilities of their cars even if they don't have pronounced sporting ambitions ”. So the motto is “you can, but you don't have to”. This is no different with other heavily motorized cars such as the Golf R, Seat Cupra or the sinfully expensive Porsche or AMG models. Whereby the new Focus ST deliberately shows off its special features.
The two-part, barred grille is, together with the pronounced side air intakes, the frontal recognition mark. In addition, there is a steeper roof spoiler above the rear window. Who looks exactly, also discovers the two tailpipes that frame the lower diffuser. Acoustically, the ST is also not obtrusive, bubbling shortly when Runterschallten and barks quite dry in the up dance through the six courses. The sound of the 2,0-liter gasoline engine is powerful, but also no pain for the outsiders.
The prices of the top Focus start at 32.900 Euro, the performance package costs again 1.200 Euro surcharge. For the combo called Tournament 34.100 Euro are due. An automatic will be added later this year. The diesel (140 kW / 190 PS) is available from 31.900 Euro. The Focus ST is also the harbinger of a much more expensive model. The round 400 PS strong RS with four-wheel drive will be at least two years in coming.