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Ford unveils the 2020 Focus ST Americans won't get

by Ronan Glon

Gasoline or diesel? You choose.

Ford announced a partnership with Volkswagen during the 2019 Detroit auto show, but the rivalry between the two automakers remains stronger than ever. The Blue Oval has released the ST variant of the fourth-generation Focus to take on Volkswagen's GTI and GTD hot hatches.

Enthusiasts have two engine options to choose from. The first is a turbocharged, 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that makes 276 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 310 pound-feet of torque from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm. Equipped with technology that reduces turbo lag, the turbo four sends the Focus ST from zero to 60 mph in under six seconds.

The second option is a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four that delivers 187 horsepower at 3,500 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm. Ford hasn't released performance specifications, but it notes this is the most powerful diesel engine ever fitted to a Focus in the nameplate's 21-year history.

Transmission options include a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. An electronic limited-slip differential comes standard on the EcoBoost-powered model regardless of how many pedals are in the driver's footwell, while turbodiesel-powered models settle for torque vectoring technology.

The Focus ST line-up includes a four-door hatchback and a station wagon, though Ford has only released photos of the first body style. Both benefit from the fastest steering rack Ford currently makes (it requires two turns lock-to-lock), bigger brakes on both axles, and ST-specific suspension components. The company explains the front and rear springs are 20 and 13 percent stiffer, respectively, than those fitted to the standard Focus, and the ST sits lower than its more family-friendly sibling.

Visually, Ford hasn't strayed far from the formula that made driving aficionados fall in love with the previous STs. The front end receives honeycomb-shaped inserts and a red ST emblem, plus a redesigned lower bumper with fog lights and more honeycombs. Out back, designers teamed up with the aerodynamics department to add a roof-mounted spoiler and to insert a diffuser into the bumper. Model-specific 18- and 19-inch alloy wheel designs add a finishing touch to the look.

The sporty treatment continues in side with Recaro bucket seats for the front passengers, an aluminum gear selector knob, satin silver trim, as well as metal grey stitching on the seats, the door panels, and the dashboard. Cloth upholstery comes standard, and buyers can pay extra for leather.

The new Ford Focus ST will go on sale in Europe in the summer of 2019. Pricing information hasn't been released yet, but it's of little interest to us because the model won't be sold in the United States. Ford decided to remove the Focus from its American line-up as part of its shift away from traditional sedans and hatchbacks.

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