Ford has released the Focus RS. This is a turbocharged, four-wheel drive hot hatch that will probably scare the pants off pretty much everything on the road.
So how powerful is the new Focus RS? We don’t have precise figures yet but Ford claims output over 316 horsepower. It makes all this power from a 2.3 liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The similarly VW Golf R (which also has awd) makes 296bhp. The new Honda Civic Type R claims over 276 horsepower. In hot hatch world there are only two cars that have more horsepower: the 355bhp Merc A45 and a 362bhp Audi RS3.
That four-cylinder turbo is pretty much the same Ecoboost engine that can found in the new Mustang. However, the Focus RS will have a twin-scroll turbo and a larger intercooler. The head is also cast of tougher alloy and a better exhaust and radiator system. Ford says that the engine will rev to a healthy 6,800rpm and promises “distinctive burbles, pops and crackles that are an RS signature”.
All of that power feeds through a six-speed manual gearbox to an all-wheel drive system capable of continuously varying the torque balance both front-to-back (with a maximum 70 per cent reaching the rear), and across the rear axle. Rather than using a limited slip differential or e-diff, the Focus RS employs a unique mechanical solution.
Ford Performance director Dave Pericak explains that “It’s an all-new AWD system designed specifically for the RS. The capability is unbelievable. It’ll shock you when you get behind the wheel. We didn’t want to do a warmed-over version of the last RS. We wanted a new level.”
The previous Focus RS pumped 300bhp through its front wheels which offered more than its fair share of torque-steer. The new RS should deliver rather less wheel-twirling, and even more speed: though Ford’s yet to release performance figures, expect a 0-62mph time under five seconds.
Ford says the Focus RS delivers extreme levels of grip and promised lateral cornering forces in excess of 1g. Ford also says that the Focus RS will provide “controlled oversteer drifts” with the right driver.
With all of that being said, the new Ford Focus RS sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun to drive on the road or on the track. Now please excuse me as I try to figure out how I will be able to afford the vehicle (guessing a price of over $30,000)