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Ford unveils a sharper Focus

Sharp: Focus ST pumps out an impressive 166kW and 320Nm of torque.

Ford presents its production Focus ST at Frankfurt, complete with a 166kW turbo five

16 Sep 2005

FORD family ties are behind the hot version of the new Focus ST that was introduced at the Frankfurt motor show this week on a stand already heavily laden with new products.

The ST is the most powerful Focus to date and features the turbocharged inline five-cylinder Volvo engine seen in vehicles like the S40, S60, S80 and XC70 and XC90 SUVs.

In the Focus, the twin-camshaft, 20-valve 2.5-litre engine produces 166kW and 320Nm of torque in a band beginning at 1600rpm and extending through to 4000rpm.

The adoption of the five-cylinder engine is no surprise when you consider the Focus is based on the same foundations as the Volvo S40, as well as the Mazda3.

In fact the ST is the Ford equivalent of the Volvo S40 T5 that has been available in Australia since June last year and boasts similar power outputs.

In this engine, the five-cylinder turbo is dubbed Duratec and, through the standard six-speed manual transmission is capable of zero to 100km/h times of around 6.8 seconds and will reach a top speed of more than 240km/h. The ECE combined fuel consumption figure is quoted at 9.3L/100km.

27 center image The Focus ST sits on 18x8-inch alloy wheels fitted with 225/40 R18 tyres and adds a cross member attaching both front suspension strut towers. 30 per cent stiffer springs at front and rear and recalibrated dampers, as well as a five percent stiffer anti-roll bar and a 25mm lower ride height give the ST more purposeful on-road behaviour.

All very important, because 320Nm and 166kW is a lot to put through a front-drive chassis.

The front disc brakes have been given larger calipers and pads that improve initial "bite" while the system works through ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, all aimed at containing the performance.

For many, the important thing will be how the ST differentiates itself visually from common Focus models.

The front bumper is decidedly more bold and sets off an "aggressive inverted-trapezoid lower grille", while at the rear there’s also a new bumper and a dual tailpipe popping out of a "a sports car-like aerodynamic venturi".

Inside the Focus ST there’s a set of Recaro sculpted seats for driver and passenger as well as a leather-rimmed steering wheel and a more generous set of instruments in a pod on the upper dash that includes an oil pressure gauge, an oil temperature gauge and a turbo boost gauge.

Focus ST buyers can specify, as a no-cost option on certain colours, colour-coded seats matching the exterior, as well as leather trim and a specially sculpted rear seat.

The Focus ST is expected to reach Australia in 2006, at an as-yet unspecified price.

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