The Ford Focus ST is the very definition of the term “hot hatch”. Flaunting a set of 18-inch wheels with super-sticky tires, a suspension system geared more toward handling than ride, bigger front brakes than the standard Focus, and a six-speed manual transmission, the Ford Focus ST is well outfitted for the serious driving enthusiast.
Motivating all of those tasty bits is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine churning out an incendiary 252 horsepower and 270 ft-lbs of torque. By the way, that six-speed manual is the only transmission offering, as is front-wheel drive. To date, Ford has yet to come up with a direct shift gearbox for its eagerly aggressive compact model.
Yes, pumping that much power to the ground through the front wheels is an exercise fraught with potential for torque steer. Ford’s engineers have come up with a number of potential solutions—among them; Torque Steer Compenstation, Torque Vectoring Control, and Cornering Understeer Control. Still though, most reviewers have noted the Ford Focus ST has a tendency to tug at the steering wheel under hard acceleration.
Of course, some drivers will just accept that as part of the car’s personality and press on regardless. A variable ratio steering rack was fitted to improve the Ford Focus ST’s steering response in cornering situations, while freeing it from twitchiness to keep it true when running straight. And, to improve the visceral response, a sound symposer —essentially a tube for introducing the sound of the engine into the passenger compartment— is built-in to the little fire breathing Ford.
Optional interior features that might be useful for the Focus ST’s mission as a performance car include a set of Recaro seats upholstered in leather. Other optional niceties include dual-zone climate control, navigation, and LED interior lighting.
Visual cues differentiating the decidedly extroverted Focus ST from the more reserved standard models include a one-piece version of the trapezoidal grille Ford is using these days, sculpted side skirts, and diffuser vents in the rear bumper. Naturally, the pedal set, steering wheel, and gearshift knob are all specialized for ST duty as well.