Geneva Motor Show 2015: Ford Focus RS {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

26 Apr 2015

Ford has revealed the all-new Focus RS ahead of the Geneva Motor Show, in a very successful bid to steal some thunder early from the Audi RS3 and new Honda Civic Type-R also being launched at the show. One thing Ford has under its belt though is heritage – the RS name dates back to the Escort RS1800 rally car and there has been an RS version of every mid-sized hatchback ever since.

As power outputs climb ever skyward, the limitations of a front wheel drive chassis are also being reached – putting over 300 bhp through the same wheels that do the steering is a monumental task and one that even the best engineers struggle with. So for the first time the hot Focus has a four wheel drive system. The all-wheel drive system is based around twin clutch packs located on each side of the Rear Drive Unit. The RDU uses sensors that monitor conditions 100 times per second to distribute power continuously between the front and rear wheels and on either side of the rear axle. Up to 100 per cent of the available torque can be sent to either wheel. The system diverts torque to the outer rear wheel during cornering, aiding turn-in and stability. Ford says this “virtually eliminates understeer” and lateral grip in excess of 1g is possible. Ford also says the system helps to “provide neutral and adjustable limit handling and the ability to achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track”.

Power for the latest RS the 2.3 litre turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine from the new Mustang, tuned to produce ‘at least 316 bhp’ and ‘at least 320 lb/ft’ – the vagueness is because Ford is still fine tuning the engine management system, but we expect the car to hit 340 bhp and the same figure of torque. The kerb weight will be higher than the ST thanks to the AWD system, but we would expect the Focus RS to hit 62 mph in under 4.0 seconds on the way to a 170 mph top speed.

Visually Ford’s stylists have certainly done a lot to distinguish it from the lesser ST model. The front bumper has a huge lower central mesh area with the intercooler behind it, while the large grille usually empty on the ST now has a number plate plinth also holding an RS badge. At the sides sit two brake ducts contained within the fog light housings. The (for the first time) 5-door body is then standard bar some sportier side sills until you get to the rear where there is a huge functional diffuser housing two large exhaust pipes. But the party piece is the massive rear wing sitting atop the rear window. All together the styling screams ‘rally car’ to us and that’s great.

The Focus RS goes on sale later this year at around £30,000.