The next-generation Ford Focus ST will likely use a turbocharged, 2.0-liter EcoBoost I4 like the outgoing version, but gain an automatic transmission option with paddle shifters, according to Australian automotive news outlet Motoring. That organization reports that the new hot hatch will make use of the same eight-speed planetary automatic as the rest of the Ford Focus lineup, eschewing Ford’s trouble-prone six-speed dual-clutch auto, although a six-speed manual transmission will remain available.
The new Focus ST’s powertrain lineup isn’t yet finalized, Motoring admits, but the publication’s sources say that the 2.3L EcoBoost engine utilized by the outgoing Focus RS is an unlikely candidate due to expense, making the familiar 2.0L the most likely choice. No doubt power and torque will receive substantial bumps compared to the Mk III Focus ST, which peaks at 252 horsepower and 270 lb-ft.
An April report pegged the next Focus ST’s peak power rating at 275 horsepower, although that piece alleged that power would come from a 1.5L EcoBoost displacing just 1.5 liters, giving it a volume-specific output of more than 180 horsepower per liter.
Regardless of what powers the new Ford Focus ST, Motoring says that handling should be significantly improved over the standard Focus’ twist-beam rear end through the use of a four-link independent rear suspension like that used on the Focus wagon.
Of course, whether or not any of this is true, the primary question being pondered by customers in North America is: Will the all-new Ford Focus ST hot hatch go on sale there? Ford plans to drastically reduce its selection of traditional cars in the market over the next few years, including throughout the Focus range, although the automaker intends to sell at least the crossover-inspired Focus Active there. That theoretically leaves the door open for additional niche Ford Focus models.