New Ford Focus ST 2019: price, specs and release date

Ford's next Volkswagen Golf GTI rival has been spotted completely undisguised ahead of 2019 launch

This is the forthcoming 2019 Ford Focus ST, spotted testing completely undisguised for the first time. The production version is expected to hit showrooms in the latter part of 2019.

The test car’s lack of disguise reveals a sporty body kit similar to that of the ST-Line model, with the addition of a trademark honeycomb grille, ST badging and Y-spoke alloy wheels setting it apart.

The Ford Focus ST has long been a popular model in the brand's family hatchback line-up. It's locked in a perennial battle with the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and the latest version will act as the sporty flagship of the Focus range until the next Ford Focus RS arrives – possibly toting hybrid power.

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The Focus ST is not likely to be electrified, though; it'll probably use a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine related to that used in other models in the line-up. A substantial power boost is expected, though, taking the ST well beyond the 180bhp of the current most powerful ST-Line version. In order to compete with the Hyundai i30 N and Golf GTI, it'll need something closer to 275bhp.

It's likely that a powerful diesel will be offered, too, for those who value fuel economy a little more than sheer power. Lower CO2 emissions than the petrol will make the Focus ST diesel attractive to company-car buyers. However, clever cylinder-deactivation technology means the petrol ST should be impressively fuel-efficient despite its performance emphasis.

As ever, the Focus ST will be easy to tell apart from lesser models in the Focus range, although its style has been previewed by the ST-Line which provides a similarly sporty look without matching the ST's power. Nevertheless, the ST will likely have larger wheels with a 'Y-spoke' design echoing its predecessors, as well as larger air intakes and twin rear exhausts, as hinted by these spy shots of a pre-production ST spotted on test.

Arriving in the latter half of 2019, the ST hatchback is expected to be joined by a Focus ST Estate a little later. It's likely that Ford will retain the range structure of the previous model, with the ST-2 priced at around £27,000, joined by a slightly more expensive ST-3 boasting additional luxury features.

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