As promised, Ford revealed the Focus RS this week, and as expected it’s pretty much a bundle of awesome – more so than any other RS model that’s come before. It’s got a Mustang engine with whackloads of power, and it’s got the means to put all the power down now.
The Mustang engine we’re referring to is the 2.3-litre EcoBoost 4-pot. In the ‘Stang it generates 227kW and around 415Nm, but the ante has indeed been upped for the RS-badged Focus with the 4-banger now plating up “in excess of 235kW” and a rumoured 430Nm of twisting force. We estimate final output to be 245kW – not quite A45 AMG power, but more than enough to challenge it.
But with that much power on tap, the front wheels would struggle to maintain traction. Unlike the previous RS, Ford has decided to give the new model an all-wheel drive system, complete with torque vectoring. Torque can be diverted any which way the computers please, with up to 70% of it able to flow to the rear tyres. Electronically controlled clutch packs can divert 100% of available torque to each rear wheel if necessary, and during cornering the system pre-emptively diverts more force to the outer wheel. It’s undisclosed what the standard front:rear torque split is, but we reckon it’s an adapted Haldex system primarily driving the front wheels, but primed to send power aft in an instant.
With handling systems honed (or hooned) by Ken Block as a consultant, we can bet that the handling is certainly going to be exciting, and there is much talk of controlled oversteer from Ford. But the Focus RS is also said to pull more than 1g of lateral acceleration – control and fun are the order of the day.
The chassis of the Focus ST has been upgraded for the RS-spec model, not only to accommodate the AWD system, but also to improve the overall handling and feel of the hatch. Sports suspension, bushes and anti-roll bars are all stiffer than the ST, and two-mode switchable dampers have been added, which include a firmer track setting. A specialised front suspension system has been utilised, in combination with an electronically assisted power steering system. Adding to the overall package, 235/35 R19 Michelin tyres come standard, but buyers can opt for Pilot Sport Cup 2 sticky rubber for better handling.
Naturally the Focus’ appearance has been bolstered too. Ford decided not to opt for the wide body kit as they did with the previous model, and have also retained the 5-door architecture as opposed to a 3-door setup. The show car, wearing a Liquid Blue paint scheme (there will be 4 colours on sale, but the show car colour will not be one of them), features a largely revised front end design, with fine mesh grilles, large outboard openings, and vertically mounted fog lamps. The rear has also been revised and features a distinct rear spoiler and bespoke bumpers complete with a unique centrally mounted fog lamp.
Standard kit included bi-xenon headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting, high performance RS specific Recaro seats and a newly revised SYNC infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. Ford have even included specialised voice commands such as, “Find a race track” for the navigation system.
With Ford keeping mum on performance figures, rumours are doing the rounds of at least a 4.7s 0-100km/h time, whilst the RS will be limited to 250km/h at the top end. The model has been confirmed for the global market, which means we will be receiving it – although we’re unsure of whether or not it’ll be in limited numbers as per the previous model.
We like this Focus RS, a lot! Here’s to hoping it comes in at a decent price!