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by Jez Spinks

The Ford Focus ST, the blue oval’s first global performance car, will cost from $38,290 when it goes on sale in October.

Ford Australia has released the pricing early for a model that will be highly anticipated by driving enthusiasts after the excellent Ford Focus RS model.

The Ford Focus ST is the successor to the Focus XR5 Turbo. While it isn’t as sharply priced as that model’s $35,990 starting point, the new ST features more equipment and a more powerful engine.

The Focus ST switches the XR5’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo for a 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine related to the four-cylinder powering the Ford Falcon EcoBoost. It’s mated to a six-speed manual gearbox only.

There’s 184kW of power and 360Nm of torque on tap for the rival to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Mazda3 MPS and RenaultSport Megane, while fuel efficiency also improves by about 20 per cent over the XR5 to 7.4 litres per 100km.

The ST employs a so-called Torque Steer Compensation (TSC) system on its electric steering that’s designed to reduce the tugging effect that is a common symptom of powerful front-wheel-drive cars.

The Ford Focus ST also follows its predecessor by including a ‘sound symposer’ that transmits the sound of the engine directly into the cabin. Ford says it has also tuned the exhaust system for refinement at low revs and a growly note higher in the rev range.

It also features a three-stage electronic stability control system that includes a mode where it’s fully disengaged.

Equipment hightlights for the new Ford Focus ST will include partial-leather Recaro sports seats, rear roof spoiler, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, auto bi-xenon headlights, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, sports steering wheel/gearlever and pedals, and a Thatcham alarm.

Body colour choices comprise silver, white, blue, red, black and the hero hue of tangerine.

The Ford Focus ST price of $38,290 compares with $40,90 for the five-door Golf GTI, $39,490 for the Mazda3 MPS and $41,990 for the three-door-only RenaultSport Megane.

Ford Australia’s hot-hatch line-up is set to double in 2013 when the Focus ST is joined by the Ford Fiesta ST.




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