Quicker, lighter Focus RS special is under consideration by Ford; 0-60mph could dip below 4.0sec

Ford Performance is watching reaction to the new Focus RS closely before signing off an even quicker limited-run special.

Ford insiders have confirmed that an even more hardcore version of the 345bhp five-door is under consideration - and it has the potential to be the fastest-accelerating hatchback in history.

Read the full Ford Focus RS review

Ford’s options for bringing extra grip, performance and excitement to the new RS will be delivered mainly through weight saving and upgrading the RS’s drivetrain. This will be possible in a car with an asking price that could even eclipse the £40,000 of the Ford’s premium-branded opposition.

However, the car’s 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine is already operating close to its maximum and attempts to conjure more power will be hampered by the lack of room for additional cooling capacity.

Because budget constraints have limited Ford’s weight-saving options with the standard RS, there’s plenty of potential for improving the car’s power-to-weight ratio by adding lightness to a more expensive version.

Polycarbonate glazing, carbonfibre-reinforced plastic bodywork, forged aluminium suspension componentry, carbonfibre brakes, less noise insulation and a stripped-out interior could take upwards of 100kg out of the car - even after the drivetrain additions under consideration have 
been grafted on.

Those additions are likely to consist of an electronically controlled limited-slip differential for the front axle, tuned to work with the GKN-supplied rear drive unit, and 
a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. A limited-slip front-axle differential is already known to improve the RS’s handling and was under consideration for the standard car, an insider has revealed.

The obvious paddle-shift gearbox option would be Ford’s Powershift transmission, supplied by Getrag, but it is currently rated for engines with peak torque of 332lb ft, so it would need some modification.

Ford’s performance targets for the super-heated RS will be to make it quicker over the benchmark 0-62mph sprint than the latest Mercedes-AMG A45 (4.2sec) and the Audi RS3 (4.3sec). The regular RS’s claim (4.7sec) would suggest there’s plenty to do to meet that target, but company insiders have confirmed that even the standard car is much closer to Germany’s big hitters when fitted with optional 19in forged wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slick tyres.

If the potential is there to make the Focus the first hot hatch since the 2010 Subaru Cosworth Impreza STI CS400 to break the 4.0sec 0-62mph barrier, expect Ford to seize it.

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Comments
8

12 November 2015
Largely this is a response to the Golf 400 rather than a rival to the A45. Not sure how many people would be willing to stump up that kind of money for a Ford Focus no matter how good or plain fast it is.

ofir

12 November 2015
But the 0-60mph time is not a good yardstick for performance measurement. With such powerful cars the time recorded depends mainly on weight distribution and on the friction between tyres and tarmac - a 3 second 0-60mph time is just about the theoretical maximum with road tyres, 4WD, a grippy surface and no aero downforce. But 4 seconds or not, there is no chance that an owner with any respect for the clutch and transmission would get anywhere near that figure. A 0-100mph time would be a better measure, since that would depend more on the power to weight ratio rather than being traction limited.

12 November 2015
LP in Brighton wrote:
But the 0-60mph time is not a good yardstick for performance measurement. With such powerful cars the time recorded depends mainly on weight distribution and on the friction between tyres and tarmac - a 3 second 0-60mph time is just about the theoretical maximum with road tyres, 4WD, a grippy surface and no aero downforce. But 4 seconds or not, there is no chance that an owner with any respect for the clutch and transmission would get anywhere near that figure. A 0-100mph time would be a better measure, since that would depend more on the power to weight ratio rather than being traction limited.
Not only 0-100 is a better yardstick as it doesnt rely on grip alone I remember that until not long ago car magazines repeatedly emphasised the relevance of in gear acceleration and how much more important it is. Now it all boils down to 0-60. Nearly all performance cars recently launched featured a 0-60 of 3.9 seconds (911 Carrera S, Alfa Giulia M4 GTS....). This is of course no coincidence. They all dip under 4 even though it doesnt represent the true performance of the car only the tuning of grip and gears in order to achieve that, and whether they achieve it in the real world is doubtful and hardly matters.

ofir

TBC

12 November 2015
The 0-60 sprint used to matter, as so few cars could reach 100mph in the space used to test performance figures. Today, with double-clutch gear boxes and launch control systems it is a bit of a gimmick. I seem to recall that at one point, the TED (time exposed to danger) was being touted as a far better real-world measure of performance. I assume that the manufacturers didn't feel the same way, which is why it's no longer used.

12 November 2015
The last Focus RS500 didn't really depreciate if kept in top nick. Used (not stored) Cars from 2010 sell for above £35.5k list so I would get this over an A45 or similar as it will be cheaper to run. There is quite a big Ford RS following.

13 November 2015
Until Autocar or someone else tests all these cars head to head with proper instrumentation and we know the correct figures it is all just manufacturers figures.Some are honest and even conservative,[Porsche,Audi] and others are optimistic [cadillac CTS-V comes to mind] I have no doubt that a proper Double clutch transmission will be faster [and cleaner and more economical] The focus RS here in Canada is $49,000 and a Golf R DSG is $43000,for ,$2000 APR Stage 2 you get 380HP.Interior is Waaaay better than the $20,000 inside of the focus. Still have to try the "drift" function though. A45 and RS3 are not available here and STI is no longer.

Madmac

13 November 2015
If the hero version is a worthy RS500 Mk 2, and performs appreciably better than the current A45, RS3, and (assuming it survives VW's current troubles) the Golf GTi 400, then Ford will easily sell its 500 copies. I was going to say, even if it's badged "Drof" on the front, but then considered better of that. A "Ford RS [plus]" badge is a worthy competitor in this particular niche; on recent history it commands a AMG or RS-style premium in its own right, even if not yet regarded as automatically held in the same regard until tested after launch.

14 November 2015
Looking more closely at the rendering I LOVE that roof vent,just like the Spec C STI,and look forward to more news.

Madmac

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