Ford Focus ST: hot hatch gets an auto 'box | CAR Magazine

Ford Focus ST: hot hatch gets an auto 'box

Published: 17 June 2020

► 2019 Ford Focus ST
► Hot hatch has 276bhp
► UK prices from £29k

Ford has updated the new Focus ST with an auto ‘box. The automatic option can only be ticked on STs with the range-topping 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, and prices will start at £34,710 – just £1450 over the six-speed manual. Deliveries will start in July, and it’ll be available for both five-door and estate bodystyles 

In addition to the seven-cog gearbox, the auto version of the Focus ST adds some technical tricky that should flatter the driver even more than the stick version.  

Like the manual version, the auto ST features a dedicated Sport button the wheel, along with other driving modes, and an Adaptive Shift scheduling system that’ll tailor the gearshifts accordingly. The Focus ST also features paddles either side of the wheel, for those who want a little more input on the fast Ford’s gear selection 

Interestingly, the auto-box doesn’t come with a speed advantage; the auto ST will get to 62mph in 6.0 seconds – that’s 0.3 seconds slower than the manual.  

Keep reading for more information on Ford’s sole-remaining hot hatch.  

We’ve ridden in it! New Ford Focus ST review

Ford says the new Focus ST offers no compromises – it’s just as much at home at a track, on a twisty road or just pottering around town. Both hatchback and estate bodystyles are available in Great Britain from launch this summer. 

The best hot hatches on sale

New Ford Focus ST: give me the engine specs

Technically there are just two engine choices as, just like the previous-gen Focus ST, there’s a petrol and a diesel offering. The one that will get most of the attention is the petrol, which uses a 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder turbo, much like the current Mustang and previous-generation Focus RS.

Ford Focus ST rear tracking

In the new ST, it produces 276bhp and 310lb ft driven by either a stubby six-speed manual or a seven-speed auto to the front wheels. Performance specs aren’t nailed down just yet, but Ford promises a sub-six second 0-62mph sprint time, putting it in the crosshairs of the Hyundai i30N, Renault Megane R.S. 280 and Honda Civic Type R.

The diesel, meanwhile, uses Ford’s 187bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel. Oddly, it has less torque than the petrol at 295lb ft. Performance specs aren’t known yet, but most folks don’t by the diesel ST for the sprint timings.

Any handling trickery under the skin?

Well, Ford says the petrol ST has the first front-wheel drive electric limited-slip differential it’s ever made. Developed by Borg-Warner, the eLSD can shift all of the power to either wheel; Ford says it’s much more precise and responsive than a traditional mechanical one, too. The diesel does without the eLSD, using torque vectoring by braking instead.

Ford Focus ST front cornering

An optional Performance Pack throws in a few extra handling toys: rev-matching for the petrol manual versions, adaptive dampers, a Track mode for the mode selector, launch control and red brake calipers.

Any special ST interior bits?

Again, it’s a lot like the Fiesta, so mostly standard Ford interior – with a few neat sporty touches. Chunky and huggy Recaro seats with grey stitching and thick bolsters are included as standard, plus a flat-bottomed steering wheel, chunky metal gearkob and metal pedals.

Ford points to the arsenal of tech and safety kit you can add, like a head-up display, adaptive cruise and a ‘segment first’ evasive steering assist in emergencies.

What else?

Well, along with there being an estate version, Ford says it moved the exhaust tailpipes away from the centre as that prevented towing. Camp Saturday, track day Sunday, drive home Monday.

Ford Focus ST interior

Along with the demure Performance Blue pictured, Ford hasn’t entirely let the ST become a hot hatch wallflower; ‘Tangerine Scream’ might be dead, but in its place is ‘Orange Fury’ – the same shade of orange you can get on the Mustang.

When can I buy one?

Sales start in June 2019 for all versions with prices confirmed from £29,495 to £33,095. Stay tuned for more details, as we test the new 2019 Ford Focus ST this summer.

Check out our Ford reviews