Only a few days ago we were talking about how we’re used to automatics being quicker to 62mph than their manual siblings. But there are rare exceptions, however, and now there’s a new one - the Ford Focus ST.
While the six-speed manual version of the hot hatch can - with launch control activated - crack the benchmark sprint in 5.7 seconds, the newly released seven-speed automatic takes a more leisurely six seconds.
The top speed is identical at 155mph, and the overall WLTP MPG figure is the same at 34.4. The three-tenth deficit remains for the automatic version of the estate, which will hit 62 from rest in 6.1, compared to 5.8 for the manual wagon.
It comes with ‘Adaptive Shift Scheduling’, which - as with similar tech on most modern automatics - fiddles with the timings of the gear changes depending on how furiously you’re driving, and presumably the mode you have the ST set to. Manual control is possible via steering wheel-mounted paddles, while changing between park, reverse, neutral and drive will be done via a rotary controller like the kind Jaguar recently abandoned.
Auto versions of the Focus ST are priced at a £1450 premium, making the hatchback £34,710 and the estate £36,110. It’s available to order now, and deliveries will be starting next month. Ford UK tells us that the auto is expected to make up 25 per cent of the overall ST mix.
Given the choice between the manual and the auto, would you be tempted by the latter?