Turbocharged by NASA: The 2013 Ford Focus ST
When you think of a Ford Focus, you probably do not think about speed or performance. It is much more likely that you envision something that is compact and affordable, yet somewhat lacking in any kind of “wow factor,” let alone speed. For example, Ford’s 2012 electric Focus, the EV, maintains an astounding combined mpg of 105, yet with only 141 horsepower, it is not going to win any races, while its styling resembles any number of boring sedans on the road today.
By contrast, the much-anticipated 2013 Ford Focus ST will have a variety of “wow factor” features that will separate it from other hatchbacks in its class, particularly Volkswagen’s GTI. Principal among these is the ST’s turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, which incorporates a nickel-cobalt-tungsten super alloy—typically used in the engines of NASA’s shuttles—into a turbine that spins at 190,000 rpm. Produced by BorgWarner (a name usually associated with Renault or Porsche), the Ford Focus ST’s EcoBoost turbocharger can withstand up to 1,922 degrees Fahrenheit, nearly 200 degrees greater than the industry standard for turbochargers. In addition, the ST’s intake and exhaust have been completely redesigned for 2013, facilitating an even more enjoyable driving experience when combined with the ST’s six-speed manual transmission.
These specs translate into incredible power from the ST’s 2.0 liter: SAE-Rated 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, resulting in a 0-to-60 time of 6.1 seconds according to an early review by Car and Driver. Still, fuel economy is not sacrificed, as the ST boasts 23 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway, for an average of 26 MPG. These figures match the gas mileage of Volkswagen’s GTI, yet the Focus boasts a whopping 52 more horsepower than its German competitor does. The updated ST also features new and larger 12.6-inch front brake rotors. Its front suspension is mostly unchanged, but its rear end includes an innovation in how the anti-roll bar attaches to the suspension. That is, before, the ST’s anti-roll bar connected to the lower suspension links on the inner side of the coil springs; now, the anti-roll bar simply connects directly to the knuckles. Hence, the anti-roll bar is much more effective, fostering better rear end movement with respect to the motion of the steering wheel.
Available in the colors Tangerine Scream, Performance Blue, Race Red, Panther Black, or Frozen White, the base price for the 2013 Ford Focus ST, which will go on sale later this year, is $24,495. Cloth sport seats, aluminum pedals, dash mounted gauges, keyless entry, push-button start, fog lamps, and 18-inch aluminum wheels are standard, and included in the ST’s MSRP. With four doors, its unique body kit, and its six-speed manual transmission, the base ST model is much more suited to consumers interested in style and speed than the three-door Volkswagen GTI. The GTI’s base model is priced at $24,495 and offers almost none of the ST’s basic
The 2013 Focus ST also offers consumers either the ST2 or ST3 option packages. Pricing for these ranges from $2385 for the ST2—that adds upgraded audio, climate control, the MyFordTouch system, and partial-leather Recaro seats—to $4435 for the ST3, which includes all of the ST2’s features plus navigation, HID headlights, heated, full-leather Recaro seats, and additional ambient lighting.