For the first time ever, the Ford Focus ST is now available with the option of an automatic gearbox. Offered on the petrol model only, it's a seven-speed transmission, using a rotary gear selector and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. Ford has included what it calls 'Adaptive Shift Scheduling' to alter gearshift times depending on driving style. The paddles give the option to take control of shifting manually should the driver feel compelled to do so. The six-speed manual gearbox is still available and has been revised for the latest model to provide smoother and quieter gear changes, while improving fuel economy.
Powered by Ford's 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder turbocharged engine, maximum outputs are 280hp and 420Nm of torque as before, the latter of which is available from 3,000rpm. The automatic ST can reach 100km/h from standstill in a quoted 6.0 seconds and emits 188g/km of CO2, which is 0.3 seconds slower and 1g/km more than the manual equivalent. Both can go on to a top speed of 250km/h.
Aside from the new gear selector, there's the usual signature ST branding adorning the leather Recaro seats and the flat-bottomed steering wheel. The infotainment screen also starts up with an ST home screen and the system itself is Fords latest SYNC-3, which comes with an eight-inch colour touchscreen for the climate control, the Bang & Olufsen audio system, satellite navigation and the phone system, including smartphone mirroring for both Apple and Android devices.
On sale now
The cheapest Ford Focus ST on sale remains the diesel-powered model, which is manual only, priced from €43,971 (it's the high-spec ST3 version only for the Irish market). The petrol version with the manual gearbox is €45,838, while the new automatic model costs €49,231. That's for the five-door Focus ST hatch - it's also available in the estate.