Next RS will be the most powerful front-drive Ford ever
7 February 2007

Ford is working on a top-secret new Focus RS, and is likely to choose next year’s London motor show for the car’s grand unveiling.

Buoyed by storming market demand for the Focus ST — which in its first year sold twice as well as its deadly rival, the VW Golf GTi in the UK — Ford believes it has created market space for a faster, edgier, 30 per cent more powerful Focus whose near-supercar performance and rally-car looks can both take advantage of last year’s win in the World Rally Championship and recall the heady days of the Escort RS Cosworth.

The new car, powered by a 280bhp turbocharged version of Ford’s five-cylinder engine, retains two-wheel drive but will use a special semi-active limited-slip diff to improve traction and on-limit handling. It has standard 19-inch wheels, special springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, and rides a little lower than the already-lowered Focus ST, which keeps its status as Ford’s bigger-selling, more versatile sporty saloon. Like the ST, the RS uses a six-speed stick-shift transmission. Total production is forecast at between 5000 and 10,000 units before the next Focus arrives.

Ford’s performance cars boss, Jost Capito, won’t confirm the car’s existence, on the grounds that it’s not yet in the company’s official plan, though he refuses to condemn the concept. “We are always pushing for cars like this,” he said, “but it is difficult because we have limited funds to spend on sporty cars. However, we would obviously like to build cars like this one.”

Designers want to avoid over-decorating the new RS, but the car is nevertheless believed to have a deeper front bumper with rally-style brake and turbo air scoops, plus a rear roof spoiler design influenced by the WRC cars. Flared wheel arches won’t be on the agenda as they were in the previous Focus RS; they’re deemed too expensive for such a low-volume model. Instead, the RS will use distinctive interior materials and badges to emphasise its special status.

It is perhaps a surprise that the new RS retains front-wheel drive when Ford has access to various Volvo and Land Rover 4x4 systems that might have been adapted. But retaining two-wheel drive saves money: Ford plans to have the RS on the market at the impressively low price of £21,000 to £23,000, only about £3500 ahead of the ST entry price. The project is believed to need around 18 months to complete, so production cars should be ready by June 2009.

 

Steve Cropley

 

 

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Comments
11

1 January 2008

HI AS A FOCUS ST OWNER I WOULD LIKE FORD TO PRODUCE A RS FOCUS THAT WOULD BE WORTHY OF WEARING AN RS BADGE, NOT SOME HALF ATTEMPT TO ADD SOME SPORTY BITS TO A ST. BUYERS THAT ARE COMMITTED TO THE RS BRAND WANT A FOCUS THAT IS SOMETHING THAT HAS THE EDGE OVER THE COMPETITION,SIMILAR TO WHAT THE ESCORT RS COSWORTH WAS. THEY HAVE PRODUCED A GREAT RALLY CAR AT M-SPORT, LET M-SPORT HAVE A GO AT THE ROAD CAR.IT NEEDS 300BHP AND MOST DEFFINATELY NEEDS 4-WHEEL DRIVE AND LOTS OF BIG ARCHES AND SPOILERS TO MAKE IT STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD.I WILL BE WATCHING VERY CAREFULLY TO SEE IF IT WILL BE WORTHWHILE TO UPGRADE MY ST AND PAY THE EXTRA MONEY, OR WAIT TO IT COMES OUT AND JUST ADD THE DIFFERENT BUMPERS.COME ON FORD GIVE THE RS SOMETHING TO COMPETE WITH THE SUBARUS.

1 January 2008

TS sport has the right idea, however big spoilers and add on wheel arches is not the Ford thing. Where visual add on's are concerned less is certainly more. Leave the Max Power stuff to the Subaru etc.

4 wheel drive and plenty of trick electronics must be included. Given that it's Ford doing this, I think enthusiasts can relax in the knowledge that they have an excellent history with this sort of thing.

8 January 2008

That' should be one very good car, but nothing more (with regard to writen). Base 'mistake' is 'low cost keeping': - that is reason - why they won't install AWD, why they took Volvo 5cil engine,... but why they even payed attention on money saving.? When you're gong to buy performance car you simply don't expect that'll be cheap, economic etc. othrwise you gona buy TDCi! What you expect of performance car is true power and performance that you should expect of RS. Some of the people written that it'll be EVO and STI contender. Without AWD and heavy 5 cil engine on the front axis - I don't think so! Focus RS should be replacement for Escort/Sierra Cosworth, but it seems that cossie owners will have to wait some better times unfortunately.

8 January 2008

C an Ford build such a car?

H ave they the market for it?

A nd who would buy it?

V ersions - do Ford need another?

Oh my - what have I spelt out here?

:-)

9 January 2008

Skid mark, you think your clever. Actually you might be.

As for the Focus, Ford have always been good at turning standard cars into fliers.

9 January 2008

I love that classic line from red dwarf, where Rimmer wants to set up the

Committee for the

Liberation and

Intergration of

Terrifying

Organisms and their

Rehabilitation

Into

Society

There is one small drawback with his plan though..........

9 January 2008

How disgusting, and on an automotive forum.

Have this man lashed and sent down for twenty years.

Funny though.

9 January 2008

Yes - whip the Alpha.....

;-)

9 January 2008

Tally ho - target comes into view........

10 January 2008

You will find as you get to know me more i can pull a simpsons quote out for almost any situation.

Mr Burns, on showing his homer around his mansion:

Mr. Burns: This is a thousand monkeys working at a thousand typewriters. Soon they'll have written the greatest novel known to man. Lets see. 'It was the best of times, it was the "blurst" of times!?' You stupid monkey!

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