by Mihnea Radu, 21st April 2015
The brand new Ford Focus RS was presented on the company's industrial estate in Cologne earlier in 2015. Now it's back, this time with global ambitions. The fact that such an awesome hot hatch is being shown at the Auto Shanghai 2015 shows that Ford is thinking of targetting not only America, but also Asia.
In that respect, this Fast Ford is unlike any of its predecessors. What's under the bonnet is also completely different, the 2.5-liter Volvo-sourced engine having beeen replaced by a 2.3-liter inline-4 turbo that could make as much as 350 horsepower (320+ hp is guaranteed). All that grunt is shuffled between all four wheels via a specially designed differential and a manly 6-speed gearbox.
There has never been an all-wheel drive Focus, and it should be interesting to see how it competes against the Subaru WRX or even the mighty Mercedes A45 AMG.
We've seen a few examples of the old Focus RS in China's most populated cities. So it's pretty clear that demand exists, though nobody knows just how much. Maybe the folks who bought one watch Ford's WRC car in action or the extra-large air intakes just appeal to them, whatever the case, these diabolical machines are already on China's roads.
A more discrete approach to design has been put in place. The new Focus RS can just about be called 'normal', but extra-large wheels and a rear wing give it away. It should be easier to drive too, since the Dynamic Torque Vectoring feature on the all-wheel drive system and the extreme Brembo brakes will keep everything in check.
For now, the RS is just as much an elusive speed machine as any Ferrari and Lamborghini. Its puzzle is missing many crucial bits, like the price and real performance potential. Shanghai doesn't help with any of that, but it does give us a chance to re-familiarize ourselves with the working man's hyper hatch.
2016 Ford Focus RS Arriving in China via the Shanghai Auto Show - Live Photos - autoevolution