New pictures suggest quicker, lighter Focus RS special could be under development; its 0-60mph time could dip below 4.0sec
22 June 2016

The Ford Focus RS could soon spawn a hotter, limited-run model, after a test mule wearing bonnet vents, enlarged bumper intakes and an adjustable rear wing was spotted testing at the Nürburgring.

The mule's physical changes suggest a more potent version of the regular RS's 345bhp 2.3-litre engine could be under its bonnet.

This supports information given to Autocar late last year which said that Ford has considered upgrading the RS’s drivetrain, as well as bringing extra grip, performance and excitement to its chassis through weight saving. Some reports have gone so far as to claim that Ford will launch a limited-run Focus RS500 in coming months, and that today's mule is a development car for that model.

However, Autocar's insiders are so far unconvinced.

Nevertheless, other sources have told Autocar that 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 RS  - even after the drivetrain additions under consideration have 
been grafted on.

Those additions would likely 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 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.

Standout performance targets for a super-heated RS would likely have 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.

But our insiders have added that due to the regular RS's sales success in Europe and North America - around 4100 orders have been received in the UK alone - Ford doesn't believe it needs to produce a hotter model. They say this mule could in fact be owned by an aftermarket company, rather than Ford itself.

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Matt Saunders and Sam Sheehan

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Comments
12

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

22 June 2016

I seem to remember an article Autocar wrote quite a few years ago. Whilst in America testing the 90's Corvette ZR1 they couldn't match the claimed 0-60 times. The Chevy test driver jumped in & hit the claimed figures by not lifting off the throttle mid change. Wonder if this could be similar, wind the revs up to 6k & side step the clutch, & pray the 4wd system holds together.

22 June 2016

Whilst demand for the current car is running at high levels, I am sure they wouldn't miss a trick for producing an even better, limited run, halo model from which they could make money!

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

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