The 2.5L turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine generates 300hp (224kW) at 6,500rpm and 325lb-ft of torque (440Nm)between 2,300 and 4,500rpm. Acceleration from a stop to 100km/h (62mph) takes just 5.9 seconds and the car carries on to a top speed of 263km/h (164mph). Pricing in Europe will reportedly be set at €39,000 ($51,644). Despite the rapid performance, it's fairly efficient, rated at 33.6mpg US (7.0L/100km) extra-urban and 17.5mpg (13.4L/100km) in town for a combined average of 25mpg (9.4L/100km), which translates to an average CO2 emissions of 225g/km. Both are due in part to the relatively low 3,227lb (1,467kg) curb weight.
Based on the same core as the Focus ST, the RS adds power, handling and appearance modifications to improve the car’s ability to put its power to the ground and direct it down the road, track or gravel path. To keep the potent engine from creating unmanageable torque steer, the engineers designed the car with a unique suspension called the ‘RevoKnuckle,’ which enables the car to keep the intended direction of travel even under heavy throttle. This works in conjunction with a Quaife automatic torque biasing limited-slip differential. Combined, the Focus RS obviates the need for AWD and the attendant weight gains of the extra differential and driveshafts.
“Front-wheel-drive was our preference all along. All-wheel-drive systems add cost, weight, inertia and consequently, fuel consumption. Compensating for the significant weight of an all-wheel-drive system requires dynamic compromises we preferred not to make," said Team RS Chief Engineer, Dirk Densing. "If you can achieve the performance you want without steering disturbance, then front-wheel-drive is a better performance car – lighter and with a more precise, linear steering response than AWD. With the work of our advanced research team in Aachen, we were able to achieve this and deliver something genuinely different.”
Changes to the standard Duratec 2.5L block include unique camshafts, a revised cylinder head and gasket and revised intake and manifold system. As well as the extra power, the Focus RS also receives a 40mm wider track, 19in wheels, 235mm tires, upgraded springs, dampers and anti-roll bars.
But serious performance isn't Ford's only goal for the RS - they want the car to look the part as well. “Imagine a Focus WRC roaring through a stage in Monte Carlo – you know immediately what it is from front graphics, flared arches, and distinctive livery. Our intention is to make Focus RS equally and immediately recognizable,” said Ford of Europe’s Executive Director of Design, Martin Smith.
To that end, customers will have three color options from launch, including the vibrant blue seen above, as well as green and white. Customers will also be able to match the interior trim with the exterior color or pick a full black leather option. Other features of the cabin include Recaro bucket seats, brushed aluminum accents and standard micro-fiber trim. The performance driving environment is completed by three additional gauges from the Focus ST, including a boost gauge, sitting atop the center console and angled toward the driver.
When it’s launched in the coming months, the new Focus RS will mark the return of the storied Ford ‘RS’ badge, last seen on the first-generation Focus RS in 2002 and with a heritage stretching back 38 years including Fiesta, Escort and Sierra models.