The Ford Focus ST can now be ordered with an automatic gearbox for those without a left foot, but it’s slower than the manual and costs £1,450 more.
Older readers will remember a time when ticking the option box for an automatic gearbox on a car meant it was time for a bit of lazy driving and a noticeably inferior performance.
But things have changed, and now, if you want the most performance from your new wheels, you tick the auto ‘box option, although, in the right car, there’s still nothing as visceral as using your left foot (or not) and powering through the gears yourself.
So you’d have thought, with the arrival of an automatic gearbox option, Ford would be able to mop up extra sales from those who love the drive but want to make a bit less effort but gain a bit more performance in the process. But it’s not quite like that.
In fact, optioning the seven-speed automatic gearbox for the Focus ST – and you can only have it on the petrol version – means forking out an additional £1,450 over the standard six-speed manual, gaining a JLR-esque rotary gear knob and losing 0.3s in the dash to 62mph.
But if, despite the cost and the performance penalty, you want an automatic Focus ST, you can now place your order – with deliveries starting in July – for the Focus ST Hatch at £34,710 or the Focus ST Estate at £34,660.