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Ford pulls the covers off the new Focus RS


I BLAME Ford for this wave of hot hatchbacks sporting over 200kW; in 2009 Ford introduced the 2nd generation Focus RS and everyone went mad over the fact that it produced 225kW form its 2.5-litre engine. I was lucky enough to drive it back then and my goodness, what a hooligan. Since then just about every manufacturer has gone the ‘super’ hatch route. Well, we call them super hatches because they have the power and driving dynamics to hound some supercars.

Now, Ford has unveiled its all-new Focus RS and we have two things to say to them: Firstly, welcome back to the party, Ford, and secondly what can we expect from this new RS model?

This new RS model was developed by a small team of Ford performance engineers in Europe and the US and this new Focus RS sports a dramatic exterior design that delivers enhanced aerodynamics and cooling.

The all-new Ford Focus RS, a high-performance road car that débuts Ford’s innovative performance all-wheel-drive system, which can deliver class-leading cornering speed, thrilling performance and unbridled driving enjoyment.

The Focus RS - equipped with a special 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, which has been engineered to produce around 235kW – will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission (yes, it will have a manual gearbox)  has been optimised for the enthusiast driver with a shorter gear lever to deliver faster and more accurate shifts. Both the transmission and the clutch have been upgraded with stronger components to cope with the engine's increased torque output.

The all-new Focus RS exploits the innovative new Ford performance all-wheel-drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring to deliver a new level of handling capability and driver enjoyment, combining outstanding traction and grip with unmatched agility and cornering speed.

The system is based on twin electronically-controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit. These manage the car's front/rear torque split, and can also control the side-to-side torque distribution on the rear axle - delivering the "torque vectoring" capability, which has a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability.

The vehicle's exterior design has also been developed to support the dynamic objectives. Careful aerodynamic optimisation of the front splitter, rear spoiler and underbody features, eliminates lift forces and the final design delivers a balanced performance with zero lift from the front and rear for optimum high-speed handling and stability.

The high-performance character of the RS is reflected inside the car with heavily-bolstered partial-leather Recaro sports seats as the centrepiece of the cockpit. Signature RS Recaro shell seats, with authentic motorsport microfibre fabric panels are options for customers in Europe and Asia.

The interior features the redesigned Focus control layout with its simpler, more intuitive design. Sync connectivity provides access to audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones via voice control, and via a high-definition, eight-inch colour touchscreen. Simple voice commands such as "Find a race track" (finally, something useful) will enable RS owners to get instant directions to the nearest public circuit. Sync can also be specified with rear-view camera with park distance control, as well as a Sony premium sound system with 10 speakers, including a subwoofer.

The RS driving experience is reinforced by a new flat-bottomed steering wheel with a soft-feel leather-covered rim, alloy foot pedals and unique instrument graphics within the main cluster. An additional bank of gauges above the centre console display turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure.

Are we excited about the new Focus RS? Yes, we sure are! Do we have the patience to wait until we can drive it? No, we don’t. Unfortunately we are going to have to wait until we can bring you an in-depth review on this promising superhatch.

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