Seven months after it first lifted the covers off the new Focus RS, Ford is finally revealing the hot hatch’s performance numbers. And they suggest the high-performance model could get the best of its competition.
Entering a fast-growing segment filled with the likes of the VW Golf R and Subaru WRX STI, the new Ford Focus RS is the Detroit maker’s most aggressive pitch yet to the hip, young performance fans who often influence more mainstream buyers. And it highlights the launch of an all-new Ford Performance division late last year.
“The all-new Focus RS will bring the legendary nameplate to a new generation of global customers for `the first time,” including those in the U.S., said Dave Pericak, director of Ford Performance. “Focus RS delivers stunning performance and innovative technology at a price that will make both enthusiast consumers and premium automakers look twice.”
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Ford had, until now, offered just a few vague hints about what the Focus RS could do, promising only that the Focus RS would deliver “well in excess of 315-hp.” Now, we learn, the specially tuned 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine will punch out 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque.
The basic inline-four, incidentally, is shared with the new turbo Mustang, there making only 305 hp and 300 lb-ft. (And, by comparison, the bigger Mustang GT makes 435-hp and 400 lb-ft. from its 5.0-liter V-8.) In its class, the Golf R turns out 292-hp and 280 lb-ft., the Subaru WRX STI 305 hp and 290 lb-ft.
Putting power to the pavement through a six-speed manual to all four wheels in a modified performance AWD system, the new Ford Focus RS will launch from 0 to 100 kmh, or 62.5 mph, in just 4.7 seconds, with a top speed of 165 mph.
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Ford claims it has banished that dreaded turbo lag, full torque available by 2,000 RPMs with the twin-scroll design. Meanwhile, twin electronically controlled clutch packs handle the forward-to-back torque split and can handle side-to-side distribution on the real axle, using torque vectoring to enhance the car’s cornering.
Drivers will be able to choose from four different driving modes: Normal, Sport, Track and a special Drift mode for controlled oversteering on track. The selector automatically adjusts a variety of vehicle functions, including steering, damping, electronic stability control, engine response and even the exhaust note on the Ford Focus RS.
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The new performance compact, the third to wear the Focus RS badge, was developed by a team of performance engineers in the U.S. It’s the first to reach the States, however.
One of 12 new performance models Ford plans to launch through 2020 – a list including the new Shelby 350GT Mustang – the new Ford Focus RS will go into production at the maker’s plant in Saarlouis, Germany. It will reach U.S. customers in spring 2016 and carry a starting price of $36,605.