Over the past few years, diesels have received a reputation overhaul. Diesel engines have gotten cleaner and more refined, and Audi regularly relies on TDI to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
However, diesel performance cars haven’t really caught on. Not yet, at least.
At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Ford chief operating officer Mark Fields told Auto Express that an updated Focus ST will launch later this year with a diesel engine option.
Fields said the revised ST would have a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder, good for 182 horsepower and an estimated 0 to 62 mph time of 8.0 seconds.
That may seem slow for a hot hatchback, but keep in mind that fuel economy is part of the mission, too. The diesel ST should turn in some impressive mpg figures, along with handling that should be on the same level as the gasoline ST. Even with all its torque, a diesel Focus ST diesel won’t even compare with the rumored next-gen Focus RS.
Ford isn’t the first carmaker to take a turbocharged gasoline engine out of a hot hatchback and replace it with a turbodiesel, though.
Just as the regular Focus ST competes with the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the diesel will compete with the Golf GTD. The current GTD’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 184 hp, allowing the Golf to get from 0 to 62 mph in about 7.5 seconds.
It should make for quite a rivalry, albeit one that probably won’t play out in the U.S.
While Volkswagen seems slated to bring the GTD Stateside with the rest of the seventh-generation Golf range, it’s unclear whether Ford would bring a diesel Focus here.
Unlike VW, which has made diesel its green technology of choice, Ford emphasizes hybrids and small gasoline engines when it comes to fuel economy. It doesn’t sell any diesel cars in the U.S. right now.
Strong U.S. GTD sales could make the case later on. Or maybe Chevrolet will decide to build a Cruze SS diesel.