Ford is planning to launch a global version of the high-performance all-wheel-drive Focus RS next year possibly as a MY2017. The RS will be slotted just above the performance-oriented front-wheel-drive Focus ST, which will still be produced even with the arrival of the new model in North America.
According to Ford, the RS will be powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine that provides over 315 hp of output and is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox that transmits power to all four wheels via a new AWD system.
This system features two sets of electronically controlled clutches, which constantly send power to the wheels as demanded by driving conditions. The previous versions of the Focus RS were produced in 2002 and 2009, and were only sold in Europe and Australia.
According to Joe Bakaj, Ford of Europe's vice president of product development, the gap in RS models has allowed the carmaker’s engineers to create the new RS from a strong base.
Ford even tapped rally driver Ken Block to help with the development of the RS. Ford is set to produce the Focus RS at its Saarlouis site in Germany starting late 2015.
Ford has given the new Focus RS with a dramatic and functional exterior design, lending the high-performance version a more dynamic and muscular nature. Thanks to a close collaboration between designers and people at Ford Performance, the new Focus RS boasts of the needed functional attributes, with aerodynamic downforce, design balance and cooling needs of the powertrain and brakes given the most priority.
Joel Piaskowski, director of Design at Ford of Europe, called the new car as the ultimate Focus with its stunning looks and its purposeful character. He noted that RS models have been stunning, high-performance cars where function is important – with the Focus RS proving true to this heritage.
Derived from the latest iteration of the Focus, the new Focus RS boasts of a new dynamic face marked by a bold upper trapezoidal grille. Located just above the deep front splitter, this grille has the largest possible intakes delivering the need cooling air for the engine. The large outboard openings on each side don’t only give the Focus RS a wide, muscular stance, but also channels air to the brake cooling ducts. This opening also accommodates vertically mounted fog lamps.
Meanwhile, the rear end of the new Focus RS is defined by a massive diffuser that helps optimize air flow from under the vehicle, thereby reducing aerodynamic drag. The diffuser is home to the twin round high-performance exhaust outlets and, in the car’s European and Asian versions, a clear central fog lamp. The rear end also features a characteristic rear roof spoiler integrated with the silhouette via body-colored side panels that sport a subtle embossed RS logo.
As viewed from the sides, the new Focus RS reveals sculptured rocker panels, bold wheel lips, and multi-spoke 19-inch RS alloy wheels. These rims are available in several designs, like the high-performance lightweight forged low-gloss black wheels that deliver higher levels of impact resistance, strength and lightness (600 grams per wheel).
As standard, the new Focus RS is equipped with Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with Adaptive Front Lighting that could change the intensity and angle of the beams depending on the car’s speed and steering angle, as well as distance to objects. The latest Active City Stop automatic braking technology -- operating at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph) -- could be availed for the new Focus RS.