Hottest-ever Focus back on track with whopping 330hp

New model RS to share engine with Mustang

Ford is reportedly working on an all-new Focus RS, which is expected to hit the road with a whopping 330hp, yet still with front-wheel drive. According to reports in, among others, Autocar and MotorAuthority, Ford has worked out a way it can affordably revive its performance flagship alongside the upcoming European version of the Mustang.

The trick is to get the hatch and the muscle car to share the same 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine, a fact which (in spite of one being front-wheel- drive and the other being rear-drive) brings down the cost of developing the RS to acceptable levels. Using the 2.3-litre engine also means that the RS can, for the first time ever, be sold in the US market, where it will go up against the likes of the new VW Golf R400. Ford also needed to prove that a highly-specced RS (which will have unique steering, suspension and body modifications) could be built on the same production line as a humble 1.6-litre diesel model.

The last Focus RS, based on the MkII hatch, used a turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, sourced from Volvo, which it shared with the standard production Focus ST. By contrast, the current Focus ST uses a 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine with 250hp. As with the previous RS models (the first Focus RS came along in 2003), the new one will essentially bring down the curtain on the current generation of Focus before an all-new one arrives in 2018. Expect the first versions of the new RS to go on sale in mid-2016.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring