News: Super-hatch war scales up as Ford starts work on hot new Focus RS

Gentlemen (and ladies): start your engines

Ford Focus RS

LOVERS OF hot Fords are celebrating news that the car maker has started work on a new Focus RS, due for launch in 2016.

The third-generation model is likely to be powered by the same 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine from the new Mustang, coming to the UK next year. Under the RS’s bonnet it’s likely to develop upwards of 350bhp compared with the 301bhp its turbocharged five-cylinder predecessor doled out.

All that power will be channelled, via a six-speed manual gearbox, through the front wheels only; all-wheel drive has been ruled out. Torque steer will be contained by a mechanical limited-slip differential in combination with the clever RevoKnuckle front suspension, that separates steering and suspension movements, from the previous-generation car.

Expect the usual RS tech and body addenda: wide tyres, big brakes, a louder exhaust and more vents, intake and spoilers than you can throw a spanner at. The new car should cost a shade under £30,000, making it a serious rival to the similarly priced VW Golf R.

There had been concerns that Ford’s performance flagship would be silenced by the arrival of the Mustang and the car maker’s “One Ford” global car policy that threatens the development of regional specials. But bosses have said there’s a clear case for a Focus RS, and development work has begun in earnest.

Their enthusiasm has sure to have been stoked by the success of the current Fiesta and Focus ST models . Only last month, Ford launched the revised Focus ST at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Click here to search for used Ford on