C346 Ford Focus ST facelift 9

This may sound like sacrilege to Blue Oval hot hatch enthusiasts, but Ford has announced that it is introducing a Powershift dual-clutch transmission option for its C346 Focus ST facelift from early 2016.

The unit will be available only for the diesel ST variant alongside the existing MMT6 six-speed manual, so ST aficionados can heave a sigh of relief for now – it’s looking very much like a case of testing the water with buyers. Still, the question remains if the next-gen Focus ST will retain its stick-shift, and this move isn’t probably reassuring fans in that camp any.

There’s no specific mention aside from that the inclusion will be a new six-speed dual-clutch unit, but the intimation of ‘new’ means that the transmission should be the nested wet-clutch 6DCT451, which is an updated version of the existing 6DCT450 that has been seen on the C307 Mk2 Focus TDCi and previous-gen CD345 Mondeo.

C346 Ford Focus ST facelift 16

The unit is the only six-speeder in the current Getrag DCT line-up that is rated to handle the ST diesel’s 400 Nm torque output, being rated to 450 Nm (hence the numerical suffix).

Differences in the revised 451 from the outgoing 450, which is set to be retired from service this year, include an upgraded clutch and revised gear ratio spread (5.17-7.88 compared to the 450’s 5.2-6.5). The 451 variant – which is expected to continue the design’s deployment into the end of 2020 – is also lighter by around eight kilos, at 81 kg.

The ST diesel was introduced in Europe last year, and is powered by a 185 PS 2.0 litre TDCi oil burner, which is based on the 150 PS tune of the mill. The output increase for the ST has been achieved by electronic calibration, a revised air intake system and a new sports-tuned exhaust. The 400 Nm of twist is available from 2,000 to 2,750 rpm.