Ford is currently testing a fleet of around 60 pre-production prototypes of the new Ford Focus ST in Europe and North America.
The new Ford Focus ST - which launches next year - is currently being put through testing and development to find tune driving dynamics and performance.
"The new Focus ST is eagerly awaited around the world, which is appropriate as this is our first global performance model," said Jost Capito, Ford's director of Global Performance Vehicles. "It must live up to Ford's reputation for producing affordable yet exciting and sporty versions of its smaller cars that reward and delight enthusiast drivers, but can also be used every day.
"We've done all the engineering groundwork, and now we're using some of the most demanding roads we can find in Europe and North America to validate and fine tune the performance and driving dynamics."
Powered by a high performance version of the Ford 2.0 litre EcoBoost engine, with a target of 250PS, delivering better fuel economy than the Ford Focus ST it will replace.
"Fuel efficiency is a key leadership target for Ford Motor Company globally. We want to be class-leading even with a performance vehicle, so we're working on getting the best possible blend of high power and fuel economy from the new ST," said Matthias Tonn, chief program engineer, Global Performance Products, Ford of Europe.
The Ford Focus ST team recently completed cold weather testing in northern Europe, as well as tests to refine steering performance.
"We're fine-tuning, testing, and fine tuning again many of the small but critical details to make sure it is worthy of the ST badge," Tonn said. "We will build upon and improve the ride, steering and handling strengths that defined the current European Focus ST."
A key factor for the Ford development team is to provide an even more engaging driver experience with the new Ford Focus ST, utilising a highly tuned Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system to unique driver-orientated seats.
"The seats and seating position were very good in the previous Focus ST, but the new model is sleeker and the driver will sit lower. The new seats which will provide even more support," Tonn said.
The new Ford Focus ST is Ford's first global performance car, which was conceived under the One Ford strategy and for the first time brings the ST badge to North America and Asian customers.
"Like the Focus ST and RS models before it, the new Focus ST's final set-up will be achieved after painstaking tuning on some of the most demanding roads we can find from California to the Nurburgring, and from high-speed German autobahns to classic British B-roads," Capito added.Published 11 May 2011