Ford has confirmed that the performance of its upcoming Focus RS as the most shattering it's ever been. The 350hp hot hatch, which uses the same 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine as the Mustang coupe, will spring from 0-100kmh in just 4.7 seconds, almost a full second faster than the strictly limited RS500 edition of the previous RS. Significantly, it's also 0.1 seconds faster than a rival VW Golf R, which may not be of any practical use but certainly lends some bragging rights.
The engine’s prodigious 440Nm of torque (which can be boosted to 470Nm for short bursts) is parcelled out by a high-tech twin-clutch four-wheel-drive system. It can apportion the torque from the front axle to the rear, and also side-to-side between the rear wheels. This ‘Torque Vectoring’ is backed up further by an electronic stability control system that can brake individual wheels to further help with the car’s cornering. The four-wheel-drive system monitors inputs from multiple vehicle sensors 100 times per second.
RS drivers will be able to use a switch to toggle the Focus between four different driving modes – Normal, Sport or Track settings are pretty self-explanatory, but the fourth mode, Drift, is where the real fun begins. It sends more power to the rear wheels, as well as using the individual brakes, to help the driver slide and slip the car in broad four-wheel-drifts. Only under controlled circumstances, of course…
It’s also the first ever car to mix a manual gearbox and a ‘Launch Control’ system. Although you’re still in charge of the clutch, gearshift and steering, the system delivers the best acceleration possible – including distributing torque through the four-wheel-drive system, maintaining maximum torque using turbo overboost function, managing the traction control system, and setting the dampers.
“The all-new Focus RS delivers stunning performance and innovative technology at a price that will make both our customers and premium automakers look twice,” said Jürgen Gagstatter, chief program engineer for Focus RS. “After experiencing the acceleration and cornering capability of the Focus RS, drivers will question the sense in spending almost £10,000 more on a premium competitor.”
UK prices for the Focus RS suggest an Irish price of between €55,000 and€60,000 when the car arrives here next year, though no official Irish prices have been released as yet.