Ford has confirmed a new seven-speed automatic version of its Focus ST hot hatch is now available for customers to order.

It is available on both five-door hatchback versions of this sporty model, as well as the more practical estate. It joins the manual version, which has been available since July 2019.

Instead of a traditional gearstick, the automatic ST features a rotary dial – as seen in other Ford models, as well as paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to give the driver that race car feel.

The ST is powered by a 276bhp 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Ecoboost petrol engine with an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. While the top speed matches the manual version, acceleration figures aren’t hampered too much with the additional weight that comes with an automatic gearbox. 0-60mph taking six seconds for the hatchback and 6.1 seconds for the estate, which is just under half a second slower than the manual.

Both gearboxes share the same efficiency figures – returning a claimed 34.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 188g/km.

For those wanting something a bit cheaper to run, Ford also offers a 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel version of the Focus ST. This manages the sprint to 60mph in 7.4 seconds, but will return 50.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 148g/km.

The automatic version starts at £34,710 for the five door, and £34,660 for the estate, which works out at around £1,450 more expensive than the manual model.

With the industry starting to return to normal after the coronavirus lockdown, first deliveries of the automatic Focus ST are expected in July.