UPDATE: Ford officially confirmed the details below for the Focus ST at 3:00pm on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.
September 1, 2019: The new 2020 Ford Focus ST hot hatch will start from $44,690 plus on-road costs when it arrives in January – and a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission will be a no-cost option.
The first-ever automatic Ford Focus ST is expected to more than double sales of the blue oval’s high-performance hatchback, given the broader customer appeal of self-shifting gearboxes. Indeed, the iconic Volkswagen Golf GTI is now exclusively automatic.
A confidential dealer bulletin issued by Ford Australia – to enable dealers to order the right mix of cars in manual versus automatic – has outlined the long list of standard equipment on the new Focus ST.
The previous-generation Focus ST started from $38,290 plus on-road costs when it was released in October 2012, but the price rose slightly to $38,990 plus on-roads by the time it reached the end of the line in the middle of 2018.
The price of the new model has risen significantly – by between $5700 and $6400 – to $44,690 plus on-roads (almost $50,000 drive-away) but Ford has loaded it with the works.
Standard equipment on the new-generation Focus ST includes LED headlights and tail-lights, auto-dipping high beam, a wireless phone charging pad, a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital radio and embedded navigation accessed via an 8-inch high resolution touchscreen.
A heated leather steering wheel, partial leather seats, a sensor key with push-button start, power-folding side mirrors with puddle lamps, ambient LED interior lighting and dual zone air-conditioning are also standard.
The full suite of safety tech includes autonomous emergency braking, blind-zone warning and rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assistance, and a rear camera and rear sensors. Front parking sensors are not available. Automatic models gain radar cruise control with traffic jam assistance.
As with its smaller sibling, the Ford Fiesta ST, which is due in local showrooms at the same time, the only options for the Focus ST are a panoramic sunroof ($2500) and metallic paint ($650).
On the performance front, standard fare includes 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, adaptive suspension, four preset drive modes, rev matching technology and shift lights on manual versions, launch control, and an electronic limited slip differential.
The brakes are a floating caliper design as before, but painted red. A skinny space saver spare tyre is stashed under the boot floor.
Under the bonnet is a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine – but in front-wheel-drive configuration – borrowed from the rear-drive Ford Mustang EcoBoost and previous-generation all-wheel-drive Ford Focus RS.
The turbo 2.3-litre four-cylinder’s power output of 206kW and 420Nm is significantly higher than the previous Focus ST’s turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder’s output of 184kW and 340Nm (or 360Nm on 15 seconds of “overboost”).
The 2.3-litre’s twin-scroll turbocharger is also equipped with anti-lag technology to reduce the delay in power delivery at low revs.
Ford Australia would not confirm the details of the new Focus ST, but the dealer bulletin says the above information will be on Ford’s public website sometime in September ahead of deliveries in late January or early February 2020.
Local media test drives of the new Ford Fiesta ST and Ford Focus ST are not due until early 2020.