Here is the car and driver article. I find it interesting they are calling it a 2017 rather than 2016 like the others. Thoughts?
The RS uses an uprated version of the new Mustang’s turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, mounted transversely and delivering “well in excess” of 315 horsepower. We’ll have to wait for the official performance figures, but there’s no doubt the RS is anything but a rocket ship, its all-wheel-drive system likely capable of helping it deliver a zero-to-60-mph time of well under five seconds. And some really good news: It will come standard—and only—with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The 2.3-liter engine has been substantially altered from the version that powers the Mustang, with a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger and a bigger intercooler, along with a revised cylinder head and stronger cast-iron cylinder liners. Ford promises a “free-revving top end”—that doesn’t sound like the Mustang EcoBoost to us—with a maximum rev limit of 6800 rpm. Taken together, that has us thinking that the finished car could produce more than 325 horsepower—possibly quite a bit more. (For reference, the last Focus RS was sold in Europe with an optional factory-supported Mountune upgrade that pushed power to 345 ponies.) The other significant number we don’t have yet is the RS’s weight. The additional bulk of the four-wheel-drive system means the RS is certain to tip the scales at more than the 3234 pounds of our long-term Focus ST.
As for that all-wheel-drive system, it includes a torque-vectoring function, with twin electronically controlled clutch packs on either side of the rear drive unit. In addition to managing front-to-rear torque distribution—up to 70 percent of the output can be sent to the rear axle—the clutch packs can divert power from side to side across the rear axle. Under cornering, most of the torque is sent to the outer rear wheel to help turn-in and reduce understeer, with Ford also promising—and this is in the official release—“the ability to achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track.” That explains some of the impressive angles managed by Ken Block (credited as an RS project consultant) in that teaser video.
When it’s not drifting, the RS’s clever chassis is said to be able to generate more than 1.0 g of lateral acceleration. The springs, bushings, and anti-roll bars are all stiffer than those in the Focus ST, with the RS also getting two-stage switchable dampers and a retuned electric power-steering system. Michelin has developed specific tires for the car, and you’ll have your choice of Pilot Super Sport rubber or track-focused Pilot Sport Cups.
Ford claims that the striking exterior styling delivers downforce as well as visual aggression, with a chunky rear spoiler integrated into the liftgate, a sizable diffuser, plus cooling ducts for the engine and brakes. Nineteen-inch wheels will be standard, along with bixenon headlamps. Inside the cabin are heavily bolstered Recaro sports seats, an additional bank of gauges, and lots of “blue RS” trim. Subtle it ain’t, but that’s hardly the point.
The first two generations of the Focus RS were sold mainly in Europe and never made it to the U.S., but the new car is a truly global offering and will be coming to the States. Engineered by the newly launched Ford Performance division that is also doing the Ford GT, the RS will be built at the company’s Saarlouis plant in Germany, where production is set to start by the end of the year. The first RS will reach U.S. shores sometime next year; Ford is being very coy about specific timing, let alone pricing. Meanwhile, we should be getting even more details about Ford’s hottest hatch at the Geneva auto show in March.