The new Ford Focus RS has finally been unveiled. It is the 30th car to wear the famous RS badge, and its development is said to have included input from renowned stunt driver Ken Block.
Power comes the same 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine as used in the new Mustang, but with some detail changes.
The version fitted to the Focus RS uses a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with a larger compressor, linked to a larger intercooler. Enhanced engine breathing comes from a new less restrictive intake, plus a large-bore exhaust system that incorporates an electronically controlled valve to govern back-pressure and noise output.
Combined with other changes, the power-plant now produces ‘in excess’ of 320PS with a 6,800rpm rev limit, although Ford has yet to release official performance figures.
The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission with a deliberately short gear-lever. Start/stop has also been incorporated into the system.
Taking that power to the wheels is a new all-wheel-drive system that uses a pair of electronically-controlled clutch packs to manage not only front/rear torque distribution, but also offer a side-to-side torque vectoring function.
Ford says the system monitors a variety of sensors 100 times a second, and can divert up to 70% of engine torque to the rear axle, while the vectoring function can distribute up to 100% of that to an individual rear wheel.
By monitoring steering angle, lateral acceleration, yaw and speed, the system can divert additional torque to the outside rear wheel during cornering, in effect pushing the car into the bend and reducing understeer.
The Focus RS will also be fitted with dual-mode switchable dampers, tuned suspension spring rates and bushes, stiffer anti-roll bars, and a revised electric power steering system to provide greater feedback.
Externally, the new Focus RS is perhaps the most aggressively-styled model to wear the RS badge, with a deep front splitter, enlarged air intakes, large rear diffuser, and huge twin exhausts.
Standard equipment will include adaptive bi-xenon headlights, Recaro part-leather seats, Ford Sync (with a new ‘find a track’ function for the navigation system), and a distinctive blue RS styling theme.
Options will include Active City Stop, a rear view camera, Sony 10-speaker sound system, and the choice of motorsport-inspired microfibre interior trim panels.
The new Focus RS will be available in four colours – Nitrous Blue, Stealth Grey, Absolute Black and Frozen White.
Prices, exact specifications and on-sale dates have not yet been announced.