It’s been criminal that European markets have gotten many hotter little Fords than we have in the US. Now Ford is atoning for that with its upcoming Focus RS, which promises performance that is above and beyond. Grab your track helmet and let’s take a look.
The name RS has stood for extreme Ford performance, with luminaries in its history like the Escort RS Cosworth.
This new Focus will be the 30th to wear the RS badge, and it’s the first one to be offered globally. It follows the 2015 NAIAS introduction of the dramatic Ford GT. Look for the Focus RS’s release date to be announced at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.
The company is promising “a new era in Ford performance” that will see the debut of 12 sporting machines by the year 2020. It’s part of the “One Ford” plan to instill commonality to its global lineup to maximize quality and profitability.
Engine in the RS is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that among its enhancements gets a larger radiator for keeping cool on the track. Redline is 6,800 rpm. It’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission that Ford says has a shorter lever than before. The powertrain also includes Auto Stop-Start, which better damn well come with an Off switch.
Rally driver Ken Block was tapped to help tune the torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, which has twin electronically controlled clutch pack on each side of the rear-wheel drive unit, and so the RS and move torque forward and back as well as side to side. Ford says that this helps the Focus RS to “‘drive’ the car into the bend” and minimize understeer.
Styling is as to be expected – aggressive and purposeful, with big openings for engine breathing.
For many, it just wouldn’t be an RS without an ample rear wing.
The Focus RS will face the stiff competition from the VW Golf R and Subaru WRX STI, and each of those cars has its loyalists. We expect a price maybe a bit north of $40K when it arrives. We can’t wait to turn its wheels – though we really hope that the new Focus RS has tightened up the riverboat-like turning radius of our last tested Focus ST. Moonshot tech is great, but the basics can be just as important.
Tell us in the comments – would you step up to buy a Focus RS?