2015 Ford Focus RS development mule spy shots
The subject of rumors since even before the last Focus RS ended its run, the next generation of the hot hatch has been spied testing in Focus ST-based development mule form.
To date, the Focus RS hasn't been sold in the U.S., despite reaching Mexico and Canada.
While many factors underlie Ford's decision to keep the Focus RS away from its American buyers, the issue of price is likely at the forefront--the last version, sold from 2009-2010, was priced from about $38,000, and the next could be even more expensive.
That's a bit rich for American non-luxury front-drive hatchback tastes, even if it did pack 305 horsepower and a Quaife limited-slip differential.
The next Focus could get even more power than the limited-edition RS500 send-off model's 345 horsepower, however. In fact, it may share the next Mustang's 2.3-liter EcoBoost
turbocharged four-cylinder engine. If so, the 2015 Focus RS could sport 350 horsepower or more.
As shown in the spy shots, the Focus RS is expected to come in five-door form only. So far, work on the exterior distinguishing features, including side and rear aerodynamics, hasn't reached the development car. The front end wears some modifications, likely in place to make room for the RS's extra turbo plumbing and/or the new 2.3-liter engine itself.
Other potential upgrades for the 2015 Focus RS include an active electronic differential
to better manage torque steer while still providing good on-throttle traction to both front wheels. The Focus RS is still not expected to get all-wheel drive
As always, the Focus RS will get an upgraded suspension, brakes, and sport-focused interior, as well as exterior aerodynamic and styling enhancements.
So far, the best guess at the Focus RS's release date is sometime during 2015
. Given the previous model history, with the Mk1 Focus RS selling from 2002-2003, followed by the Mk2 RS in 2009-2010, a 2015 arrival is just a touch early.
Generally offered late in the life cycle of the Focus it's based on, the RS is, like many other high-performance variants from other carmakers, used to buoy interest in the full Focus line as it nears replacement.
Here in the U.S., we'll likely have to make do with the still-new Focus ST. At 252 horsepower and 6.3 seconds to 60 mph, it's no slouch--but it's no RS, either.
For more on the 2013 Ford Focus ST, read our first drive review