Hot hatches don’t come more eagerly anticipated than a new Ford RS model and the new Focus RS is no exception. Speculation has been rife, but we can now reveal that the third generation Focus RS will have four-wheel drive, five doors, the engine from the latest Mustang (no, not the V8) and the option of cup tyres.
More and more information will no doubt emerge in the coming days, weeks and months so keep checking back, but for the moment everything that we know is detailed below.
Ford has been irritatingly coy about the New RS’s power and torque figures, merely saying ‘well in excess of 320PS’ and stipulating a rev limit of 6800rpm. However, given that the previous generation's run-out RS500 Focus produced 345bhp, we expect the new car to produce no less than this.
The engine is essentially the 2.3-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost unit that we will see in the Mustang when it arrives over here. However, in order to withstand higher temperatures, the alloy for the cylinder head has been upgraded along with the head gasket and the block has stronger high-tensile cast iron liners.
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The turbo has also been switched in the RS for a new low-inertia twin-scroll item, while a bigger intercooler sits prominently behind the almost invisibly fine mesh of the lower front grille. Auto stop/start will also feature and the CO2 emissions are said to be down by about 20 percent compared to the previous Focus RS.
We've had an exclusive look at the new Focus RS. For those who want to see what we thought of it, check the video out below.
Six speed manual with a shorter lever than that of the ST. The clutch and transmission have been uprated to cope with the higher levels of torque.
Two eye-catching features set to be included on the new RS are a 'drift button' and launch control. The latter is nothing new, but confirms the fast Focus will posses massive bite off of the line. The former isn't something we've seen before however, and suggestions hint that pressing the button allows large amounts of controlled wheelspin, enabling drifts.
The springs, bushes and anti-roll bars are all stiffer than the Focus ST and there will be two-mode switchable dampers, with the firmer setting being very much track-biased. Ford is renowned for its steering and the RS will get specially tuned electric power assistance, as well as more rigid front suspension knuckles and shorter link arms.
Perhaps the biggest statement of intent from Ford Performance, is that as an official option the 19inch wheels can be clad in Michelin’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. As standard they will be wrapped in Pilot Super Sports.
As with some much else about this car, the specifics of the four-wheel drive system are still rather sketchy. However, we do know that there is proper torque vectoring at the rear axle. The Four-wheel-drive system consists of two electronically controlled clutch packs either side of a ‘Rear Drive Unit’.
The first clutch pack looks after the torque distribution between front and rear axles. Up to 70 per cent of the torque can be administered to the rear and up to 100 per cent of that drive can then be directed to either rear wheel by the second clutch pack. As part of the ESP there is also a brake-based Torque Vectoring Control System, which works in parallel with the torque vectoring. Ford boasts of lateral grip exceeding 1 g but also about the ability to achieve ‘controlled oversteer drifts’ on the track, which sounds promising.
We could see that they were large, vented, but not drilled Brembo items. We would guess at about 375mm for the diameter of the front discs.
No official performance figures yet, but you’d have to expect a 0-60mph time of under 5 seconds.
Price and Release date
This will be the first RS to be sold globally, including North America, China and Australia. Again, there’s no official word on price, but we’re expecting it to be less than £30,000 in the UK, which would pitch it squarely against the Golf R.
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