No one, not the powerful Volkswagen GTI, the meaty John Works Mini Cooper or the swift Honda Civic SI can match the savage Mazdaspeed3. It cranks out 263 horsepower and 280 lbs-feet of torque – through the front wheels. It is the mightiest of all performance front-wheel drive cars.
Ford is on a performance freak-out and is ready to take the fight to Mazda. Witness the introduction of the 2012 Ford Focus ST. This is a full blown performance version of the already excellent Ford Focus. Judging by Fords FWD performance past, they are ready to take on Mazda.
Ford is hush-hush about the actual output of the EcoBoost (turbocharged) 2.0 liter, direct injected powerplant. They say it will be over 250 hp, 250 lb-ft of torque. I would hazard a guess that the overall power numbers are damn close to Mazda’s AND Ford’s torque vectoring technology will fight the torque steering demons of overpowered front-drivers.
Here’s Ford’s take on torque vectoring:
“Through the corners, ETVC is an essential aid for Focus ST drivers, a tuned version of the Torque Vectoring Control found on the base-model Focus. The standard system uses torque vectoring by braking, in which brake torque is applied to the inner wheel of the Focus through a corner, reducing understeer and allowing for more traction, much like a traditional limited-slip differential.
The Focus ST’s ETVC applies steering pressure more aggressively and also adds cornering control, which applies torque to create a yaw effect based on the car’s understeer, both in power-on and power-off conditions. Combined, they ensure ETVC is a crucial element in helping make the front-wheel-drive Focus ST a true driver’s machine, able to tackle any corner with confidence.” – – Ford Press Release
Ford was drinking some funky jungle-juice when it came to interior design. The regular Focus has one of the best interiors in its segment. The prototype of the Focus ST has a Disney-on-acid interior trim that match the exterior. There is a hint of Pep-Boys accessorizing to boot. The whole interior is too wanna-be racer and takes away from the sophistication of the normal interior.
It’s like Ford is trying to get its freak-on with Scion.
As for the exterior, it ticks all the funky boxes that hot-hatch lovers dig, and it makes the handsome Focus look aggressive. The side sills and big rear spoiler are rally-like cool and lower the average age of the driver to the low 20s – regardless of the driver’s actual age. Great… bankers will be rockin’ the ST with lots of big daddy Beiber.