New 2019 Ford Focus ST spied with no disguise

New Ford Focus ST hot hatch due next summer before hybrid RS model appears early next decade

Ford Performance’s next move will be to introduce an ST version of the all-new Focus, continuing a 16-year tradition of ST badged hot Focuses.

These latest spy shots almost reveal the Focus ST’s final exterior design in full, well ahead of its planned debut early next summer. It’s our first unobscured look at Ford’s next hot hatch, following plenty of spy shots of it testing at the Nurburgring over the past six months.

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Introduced in 2002, the ST170 version of the first Focus performed as a cheaper understudy to the Mk1 Focus RS. It wasn’t until 2005, and the introduction of the 2.5-litre five-cylinder Focus ST based on the second-generation version of the car, that the model found its feet.

Fast-forward to 2018 and the fourth-generation car, and this Focus ST looks likely to be the final Ford hot hatchback to rely solely on internal combustion power alone – the next Focus RS, due in 2020, could go hybrid.

A likely option for the next ST would be for Ford to carry over the 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine used in the Mustang and the outgoing Focus RS, though in a suitable state of tune for it to directly rival the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the latest Renault Megane R.S and the Peugeot 308 GTI.

While the 2.3-litre unit produced 345bhp in the standard Mk3 Focus RS, and up to 370bhp in the run-out Focus RS Heritage Edition, the amount of power it could feature in the next Focus ST is much more likely to mirror the output of the latest EcoBoost powered four-cylinder Mustang. 

Without any mechanical revisions that would place 286bhp under the bonnet, giving it a slight power advantage over its main adversaries. Power will be sent to the front wheels via a snappy six-speed manual gearbox.

While all petrol variants of the regular Mk4 Focus use a turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost unit, with either 1.0-litre or 1.5-litres in capacity, Ford still produces a 2.0-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. It produces 242bhp in the US market Fusion, but this engine is not presently used in any European Ford model.

Elsewhere, the exploitable C2 chassis employed by the Mk4 Focus will be joined by uprated suspension and sportier steering. 

As for the car’s styling, this undisguised test mule clearly reveals that the new Focus ST will appear mildly sportier than the ST-Line version of the car. It uses the same basic bodykit, with the design separated by the use of a honeycomb lower grille and ST badging at the front, a set of Y-spoke alloy wheels and dual-exit exhausts at the rear. We haven’t seen inside the car yet, but again, expect some slightly sportier touches over the ST-Line model. 

When it goes on sale late next summer, it could be priced pretty competitively – Ford has dropped the price of the Focus by a couple thousand pounds across the board with the mk4 car. Whether that means Focus ST will follow, we’ll have to wait and see, but we anticipate a starting price of around or just above £26,000.

Now read all about the latest Ford Focus here…

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