New Ford Focus ST - Focus ST Chassis | Part Two

With its carefully enhanced sporting image, the ST is worthy of Ford's affordable performance heritage. The ST states its intentions clearly on low-profile 225/40 R18 tyres mounted on 18x8in cast aluminium wheels. Inside and out, Focus ST is a well-crafted, refined performer - a highly capable sports car for everyday use.

Focus ST Chassis

The already outstanding Focus chassis, which offers class-leading handling and road holding, has been substantially modified and uprated for the ST. Additional stiffness at the front has been achieved by adding an extra cross-member across between the MacPherson struts by the bulkhead.

The front springs have been stiffened by 30 per cent and the dampers recalibrated to match. The rear springs also have been stiffened by 30 per cent and the anti-roll bar diameter increased by 5 per cent. Overall ride height has been lowered by 25mm.

The brakes have been upgraded to match the performance of ST, developing the already impressive system employed on other Focus models. The 320mm diameter front ventilated discs have been fitted with large calipers and high-performance pads to provide even better initial bite, heat management and extended endurance, as befits the Focus ST's high performance potential.

Comprehensive safety features have been developed in tandem with the Focus's high performance and these include a rigid passenger safety cell, footwell reinforcement, collapsible steering column and pedals and side impact protection door beams. Additional passive safety systems are driver and passenger front and side airbags, pyrotechnic seatbelt pre-tensioners and neck injury protection system on front seats.

Developing the Focus ST look

The Focus ST signals its performance credentials with design cues that echo Ford's World Rally Championship contenders.

The visual weight of the front bumper emphasises the Focus ST lowered stance, and the aggressive inverted-trapezoid lower grille gives more graphic impact to the nose. Flanking the lower grille, fog lamp openings are trimmed in brushed aluminium.

At the rear, reversing and rear fog lamp features are given similar design treatment, while the lower bumper has been sculpted to create the appearance of a sportscar-like aerodynamic venturi from which the chrome-tipped dual sport exhausts emerge.

Focus ST interior

Focus ST's unique additional instrument cluster, incorporated in the upper fascia, creates an immediate visual impact. Turbo boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure are displayed by three separate gauges and provide the enthusiastic driver with key operating data.

Focus ST's black headliner and A-pillars give the interior an intimate, cockpit feel. The leather steering wheel has an increased rim section with bold thumb grips and three brushed aluminium-finished spokes. Stylish Recaro sport driver and passenger seats provide the optimal lateral support required for spirited driving.

These figure-hugging seats can be specified with colour-keyed inserts to match the exterior colour of the car. This no-cost option is available on selected colours in the Focus ST range.

Published 13 September 2005 Melanie Carter
 

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