By Nick Kurczewski, March 27, 2015
This marks the first appearance of the Ford Focus RS in New York City. You can see the car for yourself at the Ford stand during the 2015 New York Auto Show.
The Focus RS is here in New York City, and this turbocharged hatchback is looking to leave the competition black and blue.
The Daily News Autos had the chance to see Ford’s pocket-rocket first-hand in the showroom of the Classic Car Club Manhattan – one of our favorite automotive playgrounds in N.Y.C.
Set to go head-to-head with potent rivals like the Volkswagen Golf R and Subaru WRX STI, the Focus RS is compact in its overall dimensions, but it packs on over-sized performance punch.
The engine is the same turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder that’s now available in the Ford Mustang. On hand to give us a tour of the car was Omar Odeh, product marketing manager for the fiery Focus RS.
The Classic Car Club had expertly positioned this “Nitrous Blue” RS snug against some other iconic vehicles with the blue oval badge, including an extremely rare Ford Escort RS Cosworth, classic Bronco SUV, and a jaw-dropping reproduction of a 1966 Ford GT40 in full Gulf racing livery.
The Focus RS was rubbing fenders with some impressive Ford-badged machinery at the Classic Car Club Manhattan.
Even amongst this elite company, the Focus RS manages to stand out.
Walking around the car, Odeh points out the 19-inch forged alloy wheels, which weigh approximately one kilogram less (2.2 lbs.) than the standard 19-inch wheels fitted to the RS. Our attention is then drawn to the black trim in the front grille, and its matte “magnetite” finish, which Odeh says is twice the price of normal painted plastic. The point being: Ford didn’t cheap out and just slot a plastic piece into the front of this fierce Focus.
Four colors will be available when the Focus RS goes on sale in the spring of 2016. These include Nitrous Blue, as seen on this car, along with Frozen White, Stealth Grey, and Shadow Black. Three of these four colors will be available only on the RS. No matter which color you choose, the Brembo brake calipers will also come in a Ford-friendly shade of bright blue.
All the aerodynamic parts are functional and there for a purpose. “There is zero lift at 50 or 150 miles per hour…the car will handle the same,” Odeh explains, while singling out the roof-mounted spoiler and twin exhausts pointing out of the large rear diffuser.
Here you can see the tiny flap in the left-hand-side exhaust pipe.
The right-hand-side exhaust pipe, minus the valve.
Those pipes hold a special trick, too. Peek inside – as we did – and you’ll see the left pipe has a little flap. This gives the car a special “crackle and pop” sound when you’re getting on or off the gas, confirms Odeh.
And you’re going to want to get on the gas often, since the snorting 315-horsepower 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder promises to give this Ford some Porsche-levels of performance. Coupled to a 6-speed manual and highly advanced all-wheel-drive system, Ford has already said the Focus RS will be capable of pulling more than 1.0 G in cornering force. Oh yes, and the 315-hp is a “minimum” power output, according to Omar Odeh. The final production model could have a few ponies more.
As for pricing, Ford still isn’t saying – other than the fact the RS will be priced to compete with rivals like the Subaru WRX STI and VW Golf R. That would peg the Focus RS right around $35K, at least to start.
Be sure to check out the Focus RS and Ford’s other hot performance hardware (including the GT supercar) during the Daily News Autos coverage of the 2015 New York International Auto Show.