What's the news?
Ford has given us the first images and details of the new Focus ST estate, and frankly we are excited.
As with the incoming new Focus ST hatchback, this one is going to be available in both petrol and diesel forms, making it a direct competitor to Skoda's Octavia RS. Well, a direct competitor but one that's packing rather more power than the Skoda. Whereas the most grunty version of the Octavia RS has a 230hp 2.0-litre TSI engine, the Ford will have... considerably more.
In fact, with 280hp on tap from its Mustang-derived 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol turbo engine, the Focus ST estate will have a 50hp advantage in hand over the fast Skoda, will be bang-on competitive with the Renault Megane RS and only a few hp shy of the mighty Volkswagen Golf R.
The somewhat more sensible diesel version will use Ford's new EcoBlue 2.0-litre diesel engine, and it's packing 190hp. Ah, but you'll be thinking, the diesel will pulverise the petrol when it comes to torque, right? Well, um, no. The diesel ST will have 400Nm of torque, but the petrol will have 420Nm. And the petrol version will have the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, whereas the diesel version will be manual-only.
Mind you, that might be of strictly academic interest only to Irish buyers, as the last estate version of the ST only came here in petrol form anyway, and sold only a handful. It's actually kind of doubtful that Ford Ireland will bring many ST estates into Ireland at all, to be honest, given the tiny nature of the market.
Still, there's no getting away from the fact that it's far more practical than the hatch (608-litre boot) and, to our eyes, far more good looking. It gets the same mechanical package as the ST hatch, so there's an electronic diff between the front wheels for extra traction, adaptive dampers, a twin-scroll turbo with rally-style active anti-lag, and a 10mm lower ride height than the standard Focus.