Ford Will Ramp Up The Performance

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and uncompromising looks of its Focus ST when the next-generation car arrives in 2012. The new ST, badged XR5 here, was revealed at the Paris show a short time ago, coinciding with the first European appearance of the new Focus range.

As expected, the new XR5 will use a retuned version of Ford's four-cylinder, turbocharged Ecoboost engine, now producing 184kW. That figure puts the Focus on par with

Renaultsport's Megane 250 and lifts it above the 166kW output of the old model, which was powered by a Volvo-derived, turbocharged five-pot. Ford has yet to issue any details on the car's transmission, but the show car appears to have a six-speed manual gearbox. A version of its Powershifl dual-clutch setup is likely to be offered as an option.

The new car's styling takes the appearance of the latest five-door Focus to the extreme, with deep air intakes, side skirts and a roof spoiler. Inside, the XR5 features sports seats with body-coloured inserts, a deeply recessed rev counter and speedometer, carbon-fibre weave finish and a 'stitched leather' effect at the top of the dash, where a trio of small dials is found for oil temperature, boost and battery charge.

The XR5 will be a five-door variant - Ford presently has no plans for a three-door Focus - and in line with the outgoing model, it's likely to be priced from around $50,000. FC

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