It's the future of the hottest Focus ever – but ‘R’ you ready for it? Feast your eyes on the two cars that will get every fast Ford fan salivating in anticipation!
According to Auto Express sources, the firm is planning a pair of new RS models. First up is a stripped-out Clubsport, designed to wave farewell to the current car in spectacular style. And then there’s a brand new RS, based on the Focus unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show.
The RS Clubsport (opposite) will arrive before the end of the year. Limited to 500 models and priced at around £35,000, it will get a 350bhp, 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo. There will also be lightweight racing seats, lowered and stiffened suspension and sticky tyres, plus a dramatic paintjob. With that extra punch but fewer kilos to carry around, it should sprint from 0-60mph in five seconds. As with Renault’s previous Mégane R26.R, it will be a fitting send-off for one of the best RS models in history.
Its replacement, the all-new RS (above), will be crammed with technology, and offer fans a totally different experience to the current car. A revolutionary hybrid system will give it the option of four-wheel drive.
The outgoing RS’s much-loved 2.5-litre unit will make way for a 2.0 EcoBoost direct-injection turbo in the new car. This will be teamed with an electric motor to offer more muscle, and cut emissions and fuel consumption.
In short, the RS will reinvent the hot hatch. So, where will this hybrid powertrain come from? Well, it’s already been revealed – in Peugeot’s SR1 concept (Issue 1,097). Although Ford is remaining tight-lipped at present, the French maker recently let slip to Auto Express that it will co-develop the new system with the blue oval.
While the SR1 uses the same 218bhp 1.6-litre turbo as the MINI JCW, augmented by a 95bhp electric motor, the Focus RS EcoBoost will be mated to a slightly less powerful unit in order to ensure reliability.
Total output should be 300bhp, and with the engine driving the front wheels while the electric motor feeds the rears, the Focus RS will have incredible traction. Expect 0-60mph in five seconds and a 155mph top speed. What’s more, thanks to the torque-vectoring system from the regular Focus, a development of the existing RS’s RevoKnuckle suspension set-up and dynamic cornering control, the RS’s grip, stability and adjustability will really set the driving experience alight.
In addition, the car will have the ability to juggle electric assistance according to road conditions, a stop-start system, brake energy recovery and a dual-clutch Powershift box. This means it could return 40mpg and emit 150g/km of CO2.
The new model will look the part, too, enhancing the striking lines of the fresh Focus with a sporty bodykit. The front boasts extra air intakes – with bonnet vents which hark back to those of the Escort RS Cosworth. And at the rear, a dramatic venturi-style bumper and huge roof-mounted spoiler complete the head-turning looks.
Inside are Recaro sports seats and carbon fibre trim. These will complement a sat-nav and Wi-Fi touchscreen, radar cruise control and voice activation.
Unfortunately, the Focus RS won’t arrive for at least another three years. In the meantime, the next 18 months will see the debut of a high-performance non-hybrid ST with a 240bhp 2.0-litre EcoBoost turbo.