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You’re looking at the new Ford Focus RS that the blue oval badge marque will unveil at the Geneva show next month.

by Richard Hammond, 13 February 2015

The Ford Focus RS hitting UK streets for summer of 2015

First thing you need to know is that it’s got four-wheel drive. Click, click, whirr, the memory goes back 20 years to the legendary Ford Escort Cosworth, the last 4WD hot Ford that hit the showrooms.

This new RS might not have the rally pedigree of the Cossie, but it’s going to be hot – very hot.

First off, let’s look at what’s under the bonnet. Powering the new Focus RS is the 2.3-litre Ecoboost turbocharged engine that’s also used in the new Ford Mustang (another weapon in Ford’s new performance armory).

It’s from the Mustang, but for the Focus RS the spanners have been out for the engine – the turbocharger has a larger compressor that’s fed cool air via a larger intercooler, the cylinder head is made from an alloy that’s more resistant to high temperatures, there’s a stronger head gasket and there are tougher cast-iron liners in the cylinders.

Ford will say only that the engine produces more than 316bhp. But from these modifications, it sounds like a lot more power will be possible.

Now to the drivetrain. A six-speed manual gearbox is used with a revised shorter shift and tougher internals.

The clutch is also stronger than the Mustang’s, which hints that, in the Focus RS, the motor will produce more torque as well as horsepower.

The drive goes to the rear wheels (as well as the front, of course) via what Ford calls a Rear Drive Unit that has twin electronically controlled clutch packs, one each side of the RDU. Sensors monitor the conditions 100 times a second and up to 100 per cent of torque can be channeled to either rear wheel.

Ford say that the system virtually eliminates understeer, which should mean that the RS is a real belter around a circuit.

You can see the Focus RS’s styling yourselves. Many of the changes are not only to make the car look special but also to help cool the engine and brakes.

Track-day enthusiasts will be able to order their car with specially developed Michelin semi-slick Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and could also choose optional lightweight 19in alloy wheels.

Inside, the Focus RS gets Recaro bucket seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a simpler dashboard layout than fitted to a standard Focus, although it will come fitted with an eight-inch color touchscreen.

Outside there’ll be a choice of Nitrous Blue, Stealth Grey, Absolute Black or Frozen White paint colors.

The showcar you’re looking at is painted in Liquid Blue, which could possibly be an optional color. And that’s about all we know about this sexy new Ford.

Production will start later this year, with cars arriving in showrooms in the spring next year.

A rough guess at price would be about £30,000 but Ford are likely to announce the exact figure at Geneva. Whatever it is, this fast Ford is going to be a big hit.

Richard Hammond: New four-wheel-drive Ford Focus stirs memories of the classic RS Cosworth - Richard Hammond - Daily Record
 
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