Perhaps the industry's worst-kept secret (other than Sergio Marchionne's grandfatherly enthusiasm for v-neck sweaters) is the Ford Focus ST—the hyped-up, hi-po hot hatch we Americans finally get our hands on since the death of the SVT Focus in 2004.
European RS and American SVT teams are currently putting 60 camouflaged prototypes through their paces, from California to the Nurburgring: rather fitting for the first performance Focus to be sold globally. The prototypes are a combination of new Focus models and last-gen, Europe-only STs, and the team recently wrapped up cold-weather testing in northern Europe.
"For enthusiasts in North America and Asia who have asked why our compact performance models were not available to them, well, the wait is almost over," said Jost Capito, Ford's director of Global Performance Vehicles. "Like the Focus ST and RS models before it, the new Focus ST's final set-up will be achieved after painstaking tuning on some of the most demanding roads we can find from California to the Nürburgring, and from high-speed German autobahns to classic British B-roads."
The Focus ST gets a tighter suspension, bigger wheels and tires, and center-mounted dual exhausts over the standard Focus, as well as a 2.0-liter Ecoboosted four that puts out 246 horsepower. No concrete dates have been mentioned for its release.
More: Ford Focus ST Currently Undergoing Testing, Will Be Global Hot Hatch