New Ford Puma: ST performance flagship on the cards

Ford Puma ST as imagined by Autocar - front

Hot ST variant of the Puma would bear a strong resemblance to ST Line version of the standard car

Brand bosses are considering the compact SUV as a stablemate for the Focus ST and Fiesta ST hot hatches

Ford is mulling an ST version of its new Puma SUV as the range’s flagship sporting model. 

Ford global development boss Hau Thai-Tang said the Puma “would be a good place for us to look” in expanding the ST range beyond the Fiesta and Focus in Europe. 

Thai-Tang stopped short of confirming the model for production, but it is understood that the project is set to be given the green light, with the Puma ST sharing its key running gear, including a 197bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine, with the Fiesta ST. Early development mules have already been seen testing at the Nürburgring. 

An ST version of the Puma (as rendered below by Autocar) would be unlikely to vary drastically from the ST Line version of the car, which was revealed back in April. But we can expect a bespoke chassis setup, possibly including an optional limited-slip differential, selectable drive modes and a launch control function.

Thai-Tang said Ford is keen to continue leveraging its Ford Performance arm for road car development, but the company would not simply look to create an ST version of each car. In addition to its two European hot hatches, Ford also makes ST versions of its Edge and Explorer large SUVs. 

“We look at creating STs by very objective measures to make sure it is credible as an ST,” said Thai-Tang. “Do we have the right building blocks [on which to base it]?” 

A new Focus RS is also understood to be in development, but it’s unlikely to appear before 2022, after the Focus’s mid-life update. 

“We have nothing to announce but we recognise the importance of that car,” said Thai-Tang. 

It is understood that hybrid power is one consideration for the Focus RS. “We’ll see where we go,” Ford’s automotive president Joe Hinrichs said. “The world is changing on powertrain and propulsion. No hints, but there’s a lot to talk through.”

Read more

New Ford Puma makes first UK appearance at Goodwood​

Opinion: Ford’s new Puma is a fresh take on the SUV​

Ford Focus ST 2019 review​

Source: Autocar

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