The 2019 version of Ford’s hotter Focus ST will finally add paddle shifting for the first time, sources indicate. The addition of the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters from the fourth-generation Focus’s eight-speed automatic promises to open up the hot hatch to a wider audience than the current car’s six-speed manual. While retaining its front-wheel-drive status, the Focus ST should be able to finally fight on a level footing with the ubiquitous Volkswagen Golf GTi and the new Hyundai i30N. It is understood that the 4.4m five-door hatch will also be available with a six-speed manual gearbox, but will not adopt the hotter RS version’s trick differential technology. While the powerplant is not yet finalised, sources suggest the ST may eschew the more expensive RS’s 2.3l motor on the grounds of cost and instead retain the 2.0l, four-cylinder turbo powertrain, with significant upgrades. The outgoing ST tokes 184kW from its 2.0l engine, while the crunching all-paw RS rips out 257kW,...

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