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Posted at 02:39 PM ET, 11/03/2011

Ford Focus ST at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show


(Cars.com)

Competes with: Mazdaspeed3, Honda Civic Si, Subaru WRX Looks like: Focus SVT fanatics will be rewarded for their patience Drivetrain: 247-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, six-speed manual transmission Hits dealerships: 2012

Ever since the North American and European Focus coalesced into the same uniform model for 2012, American sport enthusiasts have been anticipating a replacement of the SVT, the high-performance Focus model that was killed nearly eight years ago.

Next year, these faithful will get what they wanted in the guise of the Ford Focus ST. This pocket rocket will be powered by the first EcoBoost engine announced for the U.S. Focus, a 247-horsepower, 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 250 pounds-feet of torque. Those estimates are pending final SAE ratings. The motor will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission only.

There are many more mechanical changes behind the robust engine in the Focus ST, however. Ford has reworked the suspension by upgrading the shock absorbers and springs. The rear suspension has been revised with uprated suspension knuckles and an all-new antiroll bar design. Overall, the sport-tuned suspension offers less ground clearance, but better cornering abilities, says Ford.

The electronic stability system and Torque Vectoring Control programming have been revised in the ST, too. The stability control has three modes to choose from, including an intermediate “reduced or wide-slip mode,” which turns off traction control off and intrudes only when absolutely necessary. Stability control can be turned off, but the Torque Vectoring Control will remain active, no matter the setting. Torque Vectoring Control, which is also found on the base Focus, applies brake torque to the inner wheel to reduce understeer.

The electronic power-assisted steering also has a torque steer compensation program, which detects torque steer and counteracts it when necessary.

Besides all the technical upgrades, the ST also shows off its more aggressive nature inside and out. The ST features large 18-inch wheels and unique exterior ground effects kit. A large lowered honeycomb front grille and a Ford badge moved high on the front leading edge of hood make the ST instantly recognizable. Within the cabin, the ST is comes with Recaro-brand sport seats and partial and full leather upholstery are available. The pedals, steering wheel and gearshift designs are unique to the ST, too.

We’ll have more information on the Focus ST once the 2011 L.A. Auto Show gets underway, but for now, check out the additional photos below.

Click any image for larger version.


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By Cars.com  |  02:39 PM ET, 11/03/2011

 
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