Ford is set to up the ante on its next-generation Focus RS. Power is likely to come from a newly developed 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine – which could also power the 2015 Mustang – producing as much as 350bhp sent though a manual gearbox. That’s over 100bhp more than the new Focus ST and will drop the 0-60mph time below the magic five-second mark.
Ford’s European performance division, Team RS, has ruled out developing the 247bhp 2.0-litre EcoBoost from the new ST, as an increase in power would mean making the turbo bigger – and there’s a reluctance to do this.
“If it’s too big and capable of too much power, you lose bottom- end torque and response,” said Team RS powertrain engineering manager Len Urwin.
The RS will send power to the front wheels, as on the previous model. That made 300bhp from its five-cylinder turbo engine, but this time the RS could use a clever active limited slip differential – a so-called E-diff.
Said Unwin: “You could drop a mechanical diff in as we did with the old Focus RS, but an E-diff would take that a step forward in that you can really optimise traction in all situations.”
A manual is a certainty, but Ford is debating whether to also offer a dual-clutch auto version using its PowerShift technology. “There is a trend to go to dual clutch, but they are heavier,” said Chris Caven, calibration controls engineer at Team RS. “Whether we should have a manual and a PowerShift is still up for debate.”
With the price set to be around the same £25,000 mark as the last model, the stage is set for the new RS to humble performance cars costing twice its price when it arrives in early 2014.