Ford's rally-bred sports hatch, the Focus ST170, goes on sale in Australia on May 1.
Powered by Ford's high-performance two-litre Duratec ST engine, and developing 127kW of power at 7000rpm and 196Nm or torque at 2500rpm, the Focus ST170 will be priced at $37,000 (RRP).
A full bodykit, including front, side and rear skirts, a spoiler and ST170 decals, is included as standard fitment.
Ford Focus Brand Marketing Manager, Craig Smith, said the Focus ST170 would appeal to enthusiast drivers for its exceptional driving dynamics, responsive steering and distinctive sports styling Ė inside and out.
"Customers in this market are looking for a vehicle with enough power for all their driving needs and distinctive styling to match.
"The standard Ford Focus is a fantastic base on which to build a performance vehicle. Added to this, the extra power inherent in the ST170 engine upgrade is complemented by a range of other engineering enhancements, including a slick, Getrag six-speed Durashift manual gearbox, re-tuned sports suspension, tight chassis and an all-aluminium sports exhaust," he said.
To develop the Focus ST170 powerplant, Ford engineers provided a number of engineering enhancements, including improved gas flow characteristics, higher rev capability, combustion efficiency and a higher compression ratio.
Engineering enhancements include:
New, high-flow aluminium cylinder head with larger inlet valves and higher-lift intake and exhaust camshafts for higher peak rpm levels;
Continuously variable intake valve timing;
High compression, cast-aluminium pistons and forged steel connecting rods
Dual mass flywheel;
New dual state intake (DSI) manifold, using long runners for low-end torque and shorter runners for higher peak power outputs;
Larger bore free-flowing stainless steel exhaust system, tuned for enhanced performance sound.
The engine has been tuned to provide a strong launch feel and a consistent delivery of power and torque throughout the rev range.
ďUp to 85 per cent of the Duratec ST's 195Nm of torque is available from just 2200rpm, giving a useable, strong performance feel,Ē Mr Smith said.
Focus ST170ís performance enhancements are not limited to the engine.
A slick-shifting, close-ratio Getrag six-speed transmission adds to the driving experience, while the revised suspension settings deliver precise handling.
The sports suspension includes new springs and dampers and front lower control arms.
Engineers also increased spring rates, fitted larger stabilizer bars and revised the standard car's power steering gearing to provide the right combination of precise handling and compliant ride.
The Focus ST170 also gets a braking upgrade to go with the increased power. The package includes larger-diameter brake discs, unique calipers, four-channel ABS and traction control.
Fordís VDC AdvanceTrac stability system is standard equipment.
"Styling of the Focus ST170 reflects the car's engineering enhancements and driveability characteristics," said Mr Smith.
Exterior design elements exclusive to Focus ST170 include bolder, large-honeycomb-mesh radiator grille and bumper grille treatments for optimal cooling, plus unique round, projector-style fog lamps.
Combined with the aggressive performance look of Focus ST170ís unique 15-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels and low-profile tyres, the result is an appearance transformation that creates an athletic stance in keeping with the carís rally breeding.
New styled headlamps, with ďtech-flecĒ accents, provide further visual distinction.
The cockpit of the ST170 continues the sports feel, with a unique silver faced instrument panel, electro-luminescent gauges, a 7250rpm redline tachometer, speedo and additional analogue gauges for oil temperature and oil pressure.
Sports seats with leather-trimmed bolsters provide excellent lateral support, with comfort and clear feedback to the driver and front-seat passenger, particularly on longer journeys.
Other sporty touches include drilled metallic pedal covers with rubber grips, as well as metallic highlights on the face of the leather gear lever knob, the release button of the leather-wrapped hand brake, the door handles and door-sills.
The standard bodykit, including front, rear and side skirts, spoiler and ST170 decals, was designed in Australia to complement the car's European styling.
"Australians like their vehicles to be visually aggressive so we added some extra touches here to give the car a lower, more aggressive stance," says Mr Smith.
"Combined with the styling of the Focus ST170, the bodykit will reflect its driver's passion for enthusiast driving."
ST170 will be exclusively available in Imperial Blue.
hmmm, $37,000 thatís a better price than I expected to see it lob in at. However I still feel itís too expensive. The Mini Cooper S starts at $39,990 - however you can spend as much as you want on options on it! (E.G how about the John Cooper Works upgrade for around $11,000 to take the power up to 150kw!!!) The Renault Clio Sport is the other main competitor and that starts at $33,990.
They all have around 120 - 130kw. No question the Clio Sport is the pick in terms of price and performance. It is currently THE hot hatch. The MCS is the most expensive and while it is a fantastic drive it is ultimately not quite as quick as the Clio Sport (not a lot in it though). Until I read some local stuff on the ST170 I won't comment on how well it will perform against its rivals. It is more expensive than the Clio but it is significantly cheaper than the MCS. It is also a lot bigger than both the Clio and the MCS, which should help it sell.
It will be interesting too see how it sells. Provided itís a good drivers car (and it should be as the focus is a great base product in terms of chassis and handling) it should sell pretty well.
BAII XR6T, Lightning Strike, M6, Sports Steering Wheel, 18" Wheels.
"Anyone can drive in a Straight line"
Im disappointed with the price & I hope the aussie body kit isn't too different from the classy look of the euro version. I think the price should have been much closer to the clio cause even though it is a biiger car I think the euro snob factor of the Clio is enough to sway people in its favour & the base model prices are quite similar too if I remember correctly if that is something to go by