The Mustang may be the focus of Ford’s performance-car spotlight, but another high-powered present is around the corner.
Ford has confirmed production of the new generation Focus RS – and it is coming to Australia.
The new Focus RS is set to be Ford’s fastest and most powerful hot hatch of all time, powered by the same turbocharged 2.3-litre engine used in the upcoming Mustang – with all-wheel-drive grip to get its grunt to the road.
The pocket rocket will also help enthusiasts find their nearest race track to exploit the car’s performance.
“Simple voice commands such as ‘find a race track’ enable RS owners to get instant directions to the nearest public circuit,” says Ford press blurb.
The high-powered engine in such a small car is tipped to challenge the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R and Subaru WRX STI.
Ford is yet to confirm timing and pricing but the Focus RS is expected in Australian showrooms in the first half of 2016, with a sharp RRP likely to undercut the $50,000 Golf R and WRX STI.
Ford Australia has developed a pattern of undercutting its hot hatch rivals: the Fiesta ST at $25,990 is cheaper than the VW Polo GTI, Renault Clio RS and Peugeot 208 GTI and the $38,290 Focus ST costs less than the VW Golf GTI and Subaru WRX despite being better equipped.
Ford will reveal further details at next month’s Geneva motor show
Over-delivering and under-pricing is part of Ford’s plan to attract buyers who have not previously considered its performance cars before.
Ford says it wants volume sales from its new global performance model, which means the new Focus RS will be less of a niche vehicle and more widely available. It is one of 12 new performance cars due before 2020.
Ford will reveal further details at next month’s Geneva motor show but says the new Focus RS will have “well in excess” of 230kW.
Overseas reports have speculated an output of 250kW of power and more than 450Nm of torque (up from 224kW and 440Nm from the previous Focus RS).
The vehicle will go into production in Saarlouis, Germany late this year before becoming the first Ford RS model sold globally.
The previous Focus RS – sold in small numbers in Australia in 2010 – was a three-door front-wheel-drive model powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine shared with Volvo.
Ford Australia imported just 315 examples in September 2010, after Ireland gave up its remaining allocation of cars due to excess supply and weakened demand in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis.
Despite costing $60,000, all 315 examples were snapped up within months.
Fast Facts: Ford Focus RS
What we know so far:
Engine: Turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder
Power: In excess of 230kW and 450Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, all-wheel-drive with torque vectoring (sending grip to the wheel that needs it most in corners and up to 70 per cent of power to the rear wheels)
Other highlights: Brembo racing brakes, lightweight 19-inch alloy rims, Michelin high performance tyres, two-mode shock absorbers, Recaro seats, flat-bottomed steering wheel, stop-start technology, automatic emergency braking, bi-xenon headlights, 10-speaker Sony sound system with a subwoofer.