Ahead of its full unveiling in Cologne, the third-generation Ford Focus RS has been revealed, with many features confirmed that includes all-wheel drive and the implementation of the same EcoBoost engine going in the new Mustang.
The new Focus RS will have “over 316bhp” on tap from its 2.3-litre EcoBoost unit which will go through a variable all-wheel drive system and ensure the hot hatch will be the most potent standard version so far from Ford’s performance division.
We practically knew that the new RS would be powered by the same engine that will appear in the upcoming Mustang, but it was how its power would be distributed that had everyone interested and it’s also a feature of the car that is perhaps most vital to the car.
Entitled the All-Wheel-Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring system, it came as a slight surprise with many anticipating front-wheel-drive like the previous Focus RS, but Ford insists powering the car through all four corners provides “class-leading corner speeds”.
The system is based around twin electronically controlled clutch packs and both are situated on each side of the Rear Drive Unit that works in a similar manner to a limited slip differential. It distributes power continuously between the front and back wheels and either side of the rear axle and the system can send up to 100 per cent of the available torque to either wheel and “virtually eliminates understeer”.
Under the bonnet, the new Focus RS’s engine changes from the upcoming Mustang’s in that the 2.3-litre unit gets a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with a larger compressor to aid airflow, while a larger intercooler and air intake also gives the RS a boost - quite literally.
The engine’s power is sent through a six-speed gearbox that has been tuned for faster shifting and more accurate changes. Those working about the about of torque going through the transmission needn’t worry, with Ford ensuring the system has been updated to cope with levels more than that of the Mustang’s 320lb ft.
Other upgrades sees the new RS get a retuned chassis that features selectable dampening modes, with stiffer spring rates, bushes and anti-roll bars also featuring. Despite getting electric power steering, Ford insists that the car has “connected and responsive steering with outstanding feel”.
While the new RS was being spotted testing on the Nurburgring circuit, many spectators noticed the car’s rather exuberant exhaust sound and Ford has confirmed that the car will indeed be very aurally spirited, with it emitting crackles and burbles not unlike a World Rally car.
The new Focus RS will be sold as a five-door model only, but styling wise is far more extreme than any other current Focus model, including the ST. Also, for those that like to take their Focus RS out on the track, Ford will supply a semi-slick tyre for the first time, while all cars will come with 19-inch multi-spoke alloys on Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres.
Inside, the Focus RS gets hugging Recaro sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, alloy pedals and a simpler centre console than that in a standard Focus, but still includes an eight-inch colour touchscreen and Ford’s Sync2 connectivity system.
Four colour choices will be available, including Nitrous Blue, Stealth Blue, Absolute Black and Frozen White. The blue seen in the pictures is a show colour only, but could become a cost option later.
A price of around £30,000 is expected when the new Ford Focus RS goes on sale in mid-2016, while we will see the car in person at next month’s Geneva motor show.