Ford Motor Company has finally confirmed that the next generation Focus RS is going into production. This car has circled the rumour mills before, and the latest report from Autocar UK sheds more light on the future model. Slated for a 2015 launch, the uber-hot hatch will get a brand new high performance 2.3 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and, despite numerous rumours and speculations, stay front-wheel drive.
Now that it has a firm grip on the global passenger car sales with ‘world models’ such as the latest Fiesta and Focus, the next logical step for Ford is to introduce halo models from within its current range, raising its profile beyond the mass market. Banking on the popularity of the first two incarnations, the decision to develop a new Focus RS based on the abled current platform is a no brainer.
Slotting well above the Focus ST (pictured) in terms of speed and well, focus, the next RS will not cannibalise the former’s sales. As quick and fun as it is, the ST puts a heavier emphasis on everyday usability rather than balls-out performance. The RS will go in the opposite direction.
The word is, Ford is in the midst of developing an all-new turbocharged 2.3 litre motor tuned to around 330 bhp. That’s comfortably more than the Mk2’s 301 bhp, if a little under the 345 bhp offered in its ultimate form, the RS500. Utilising all the latest turbo and direct-injection tech, the engine will also form a new base model for the yet-to-be-released European-bound Mustang.
For the third time in succession, Ford engineers have abandoned the thought of sending power to all four wheels, again sticking to a front-wheel drive platform. The readily available four-wheel drive system used in the Ford Kuga is deemed too heavy and restrictive to achieve the RS’ performance goals.
Ford’s well-loved Revoknuckle front suspension will make a timely comeback in the RS to curb torque steer, as will a standard-fit limited-slip differential. Both were considered unnecessary in light of the Focus ST’s trick electronic torque-vectoring system, though Renault disagreed and installed the conceptually similar PerfoHub suspension and LSD on its Megane RS models.
2015 is still a long way to go, but if the first two models are anything to go by, expect the next Focus RS to be an absolute cracker.