Ford has confirmed plans to launch a high performance RS version of the European Focus hatch sometime next year, but according to latest reports the Blue Oval may also launch an RS version of the new Fiesta and this one could become a global model. This means there would be two new sports variants of the Fiesta compact, the current ST and the new high-performance RS.
Ford is yet to confirm plans for a Fiesta RS, or even acknowledge that it’s considering the possibility, but AutoExpress reports the car will arrive in 2010, one year after the launch of the new ST. According to the source, the diminutive hot-hatch will get a more powerful version of the Fiesta ST's 1.6L turbo engine. This would give the RS a power output of around 200hp, all channeled through the front-wheels.
With those power levels expect the RS to have a 0-60mph time of around six seconds and a top speed in excess of 140mph, putting it directly in the territory of established hot-hatches such as the Renaultsport Clio 197 Cup and the VW Golf GTI.
Also expect the RS to lose creature comforts its porky brother, the Fiesta ST, retains - this means a stripped out cabin with race seats and lightweight materials. Also expect a much more driver focused suspension setup to give the RS real appeal amongst enthusiasts. Stiffer springs, anti-roll bars and big, grippy tires are all likely candidates.
With the Fiesta due to arrive in North America and Asia-Pacific around the end of the decade, the new RS would serve as a nice halo model to help bring customers into showrooms. That is, of course, if Ford gives the project the green light.