The second largest US automaker has had for years a compact bomb designed specifically for narrow European streets, going by the Focus RS disguise. Enough – the third generation is going global, meaning North America is finally covered by the rally-aficionado RS version.
With its global debut in Cologne, Germany after numerous teasers, leaks and other news (important, relevant or otherwise), the 2016 Ford Focus RS comes is revealed in its full – GT-inspired – blue paint. It’s also one of the first products to come out of the consolidated Ford Performance, so our expectations are as high as the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest artificial structure, standing at 829.8 m (2,722 ft). The high-performance hatchback – which waited for the Focus 3.5 (meaning the facelift of the third generation) – before making a splash entry, also pioneers one crucial asset. Complementing the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine that crunches more than 320 PS is a new Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring. Being the 30th vehicle to wear the RS badge since 1968, the 2016 Focus RS is built in Saarlouis, Germany, starting late this year and will be delivered to all major markets around the globe for the first time – Europe should be first on the menu before the year’s end and the US will follow most likely in the first part of 2016.
The Liquid Blue exterior paint scheme mirrors the Ford GT, and the styling is as dramatic as a Tom Cruise – Mission Impossible flick. Underneath it all, we do find numerous aerodynamics and cooling tweaks, courtesy of the “small” Ford Performance engineers in Europe and US – even rally driver and Gymkhana star Ken Block contributed as a consultant. Full details will not be available though until the model makes the global public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
“The all-new Focus RS is a serious machine with high-performance technology and innovative engineering that sets a new benchmark for driving exhilaration on the road and track,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company. “The RS line has a proud history of technical breakthroughs that have migrated to mainstream Fords to benefit all of our customers, and the new Focus RS is no exception. It’s a great example of our passion for innovation through performance and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound.”
Ford’s well known EcoBoost technology is found under the hood, with the Focus RS saying goodbye to the five cylinder engine of old in favor of a newer four-cylinder 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine that can also be found powering the iconic Mustang. The enhancements, including a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with larger compressor, much bigger intercooler and less restrictive intake design have garnished over 320 PS, and all that power will be matched by outstanding music – coming from the large-bore high performance exhaust system with an electronically controlled valve in the tailpipe.
Even more so, all that power will be readily accessible – the third generation Focus RS goes all the way and comes with the Ford Performance AWD. It boasts Dynamic Torque Vectoring and by using twin electronically-controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit the system is able to vary up to 100 percent of the available torque to each rear wheel (70 % of the overall power can be diverted to the rear axle). Performance figures have not been released yet, but we do know that racing enthusiasts will be thrilled to see the standard gearbox is a six-speed manual affair.