Development is underway on a new Ford Focus RS, about two years before the car is expected to be launched in international markets. The third-generation Focus RS is again set to be front-wheel drive. It will draw its power from a turbocharged 2.3-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, derived from that of the 2015 Mustang.
A power output of about 330bhp has been mooted by insiders, while a limited-slip differential and Ford’s innovative, torque-steer-reducing RevoKnuckle front suspension system will again feature among the mechanical specification. Over the past year, Ford executives have been increasingly talking up the chances of a new Focus RS making production.
The business case for the Focus RS was strengthened by the fact that it can be built on the same production line as the standard model and will share an engine with the Mustang, albeit in a transverse application instead of a longitudinal one. Central to the new Focus RS is the Mustang-derived 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine. Sources have indicated that the new Focus RS will have about 10 per cent more power than its 301bhp turbocharged 2.5-litre, five-cylinder predecessor, suggesting about 330bhp.
Although power is being increased by about 10 per cent thanks to the new engine, fuel economy is set to improve by about 20 per cent. This boost to economy comes mainly from the engine being lighter and more efficient. The new Focus RS will also be lighter overall than before, aiding performance and dynamic ability, too. Sources revealed to Autocar UK last year that four-wheel drive had been evaluated for the new Focus RS in early engineering studies but the front-wheel drive formula of its predecessors would remain. A six-speed manual gearbox will be a standard fitment. To help the new Focus RS get its hefty power and torque reserves to the road, Ford is equipping it with a mechanical limited-slip differential, according to sources. There’s also a return for the innovative RevoKnuckle front suspension system, which reduces the amount of torque steer.
Among the other changes over a Focus ST, on which the new RS will be based, is a lowered chassis, with a firmer, sportier suspension set-up. Styling cues include the adoption of twin exhausts at the rear of the car, differing from the large single central exhaust on the ST. Increased cooling at the front of the car, 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres and larger brakes are other features. Expect the styling to follow the blueprint of the previous Focus RS, with a bodykit, rear wing and rear diffuser among the design and aerodynamic features.