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 ahead of an expected reveal next summer. To date, the Focus RS has never been sold in the U.S., despite reaching Mexico and Canada in limited numbers, but that may change with this new generation.
While many factors underlie Ford Motor Company's [NYSE:F] decision to keep the Focus RS away from its American buyers, with the issue of price likely at the forefront (the last version, sold from 2009-2010, was priced from about $38,000), we’re still hopeful of this new model’s arrival because of the Blue Oval’s ‘One Ford’ policy and the fact that prototypes for the new Focus RS have been spotted in the U.S. previously.
While the last Focus RS came in three-door guise only, as shown in the spy shots the new Focus RS will come as a five-door, which makes sense since Ford doesn’t build a three-door version of its latest-generation Focus
. The aggressive look of the previous model appears to have carried over for the front section, and this is joined by chunky side sills, a large rear spoiler and a rear bumper integrating dual-exhaust tips and a diffuser.
Power in the new Focus RS is expected to come from the 2015 Mustang’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder
, with output capped at about 330 horsepower. Ford hasn’t revealed final specs for its Mustang but has said the EcoBoost four will deliver more than 305 horsepower. The previous Focus RS delivered as much as 345 horsepower from a turbocharged five-cylinder mill.
Other potential upgrades for the new 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. The car will, however, get upgraded suspension, brakes, a sport-focused interior, and the aforementioned exterior aerodynamic and styling enhancements.
So far, the best guess at the debut of the new Focus RS is mid next year, which would make it a 2016 model if approved for U.S. sale. 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 Focus RS is, like many other high-performance variants from other automakers, used to buoy interest in the full Focus line as it nears replacement. However, Ford may want to introduce this new model earlier to help maximize sales._______________________________________Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.