Ford launched the new generation of the Focus at the Paris Motor Show, announcing it would be a world car, with similar models sold in all countries. But hot hatchback fans will be most pleased to hear that a performance version, the Focus ST, is coming to the U.S. The Focus ST will appear as a 2012 model, one year behind the standard new Focus.
The car is being designed by Ford's European RS performance group. It sits lower than the standard Focus, with a more tightly sprung suspension. Ford also says the Focus ST will use torque vectoring, changing the power delivery across the front wheels for better handling in corners.
As a unique performance model, the Focus ST is likely to come standard with much of the tech that can be had in the base Focus as an option. For example, this cabin shows the MyFord cabin tech interface, using a seven inch screen to show navigation, communications, and entertainment. The six-speed manual is also likely to be the only transmission choice.
The standard Focus does not look as aggressive as the Focus ST, but will be available in the beginning of 2011. This new Focus uses the same Ford Kinetic design language as the recently launched Fiesta. Production of this new Focus will start simultaneously in Europe and the U.S.
The European Focus will get a variety of engines, including two diesels and Ford's new 1.6-liter EcoBoost, which uses direct injection and a turbo. The U.S. version will get a direct injection 2-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower. A six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission will also be available.
The Focus will be available with Ford's MyFord cabin tech interface, which uses a 7-inch LCD, the largest in this segment. The MyFord package also includes a Sony premium audio system, which adds a center fill and subwoofer to the standard six-speaker configuration, and adds a custom audio panel below the LCD.
The MyFord interface is broken up into four quadrants, with navigation, audio, communications, and climate. The navigation system uses maps stored on an SD card. During a demonstration, a Ford representative was able to specify a destination by saying the complete address as one sentence into the voice command system.
The audio system allows a large number of sources. During this demonstration, the Ford representative plugged in a USB drive filled with MP3s and used Sync to request Green Day by voice command. The system shows album art on the screen, if available.
The car includes a built-in Wi-Fi network. Users can connect it to the Internet by parking near a Wi-Fi hot spot, plugging a USB cellular modem into one of the car's two USB ports, or tethering it to a mobile phone with a data connection. Once connected, the car becomes a hot spot, allowing passengers to connect laptops, iPads, and other mobile equipment.
One of the most exciting things about the new Focus is that it will include optional driver assistance systems, such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, and even automated parallel parking. The array of sensors pictured enables some of these systems. Although these systems will be available in Europe, U.S. availability has not been confirmed.