The all-new 155mph Ford Focus RS will go on sale in spring 2009 and cost less than £25k
4 July 2008

It’s hard to know where to start when describing the all-new 155mph ‘sub £25k’ Ford Focus RS, for although it may not go on sale until the spring of 2009 this won’t prevent it from stealing most of the headlines at this month’s London Motorshow.The main technical points are as follows: sub £25k price, 295bhp, 302lb ft of torque, front-wheel drive with a Quaife limited slip diff. Zero to 60mph will take ‘less than six seconds’, the top speed will be limited to 155mph and zero to 100mph will take something between 12-13sec.According to its creators the forthcoming Focus RS will rocket straight to the top of its class on performance, handing and roadholding. It is also assured the distinction of being the most potent front-driver yet, thanks to the power and torque produced by its heavily modified 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine.So why doesn’t it get four wheel drive? Because ‘it absolutely doesn’t need to have it’ according to the engineering team behind it. The magic chassis ingredient within the front suspension is known inside Ford as the revo-knuckle which, along with the limited-slip diff, allows Jost Capito, the director of Ford’s Team RS, to say that the new RS “has virtually no torque steer at all.”Capito doesn’t do exaggeration: “we don’t just look at the RS as being a souped-up version of the ST,” he explains, “It’s an entirely different car in its own right, with an entirely separate range of values. But it’s still very much a car you can use everyday. For most of the people who will buy it the RS will be their only car, so it has to be comfortable and usable 365 days a year. We could easily have made a more extreme car but, to be honest, we didn’t want to. In any case we’re talking about a car that has to make a profit for Ford. If this car fails to make a profit then, for sure, it will be the last ever Ford to wear an RS badge.”Get under the skin of the new Ford Focus RS.

Steve Sutcliffe

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Comments
17

4 July 2008

looking very very good! Proper rally car for the road! Makes an impreza look expensive!

4 July 2008

But an impresza, steve, has been designed from the ground up to be one thing and one thing only - a very quick road car. From the engine mounted as low as possible, to the 4 wheel drive system and chasis.

This is a (fairly heavily) modifid version of a ford focus.

Granted, they have great chasis to begin with, but of course its going to be cheaper, because its been modified to make into a enertaining hot hatch, not a car designed to do so with every last bolt.

Personally, i don't see 295bhp through the front wheels as do-able, but I'd be happy to be proved wrong.

4 July 2008

I hope that the chassis is good. However without wishbone suspension and equal length drive shafts I cannot see how torque steer is going to be eliminated.

It may be masked but I belive a transverse powertrain is going to force compromise in the engineering required.

4 July 2008

[quote superstevie]

looking very very good! Proper rally car for the road! Makes an impreza look expensive!

[/quote]

No really, it doesn't have 4 wheel drive so it's not that proper. Even if it 'absolutely doesn't need' 4 wheel drive they should've fitted it anyway. Firstly to further differenciate it from the ST and secondly to give it proper rally kudos like the Evo nd STi

D

28bhp never felt so fast

 

4 July 2008

[quote pitfield]Even if it 'absolutely doesn't need' 4 wheel drive they should've fitted it anyway[/quote]

Great in theory, but the focus platform doesn't currently offer 4wd. They would have had to completely engineer an entire 4 wheel drive system just to offer it on a low-ish volume model. This would have added vastly to the development costs, thousands to the cost of the car and put the profitability of the project in jeopardy.

Ford simply can't afford to build a loss-making halo model like the last RS. Unfortunately in this instance business had to come before rally heritige.

4 July 2008

Why do i get the feeling it will handle better in reverse?

4 July 2008

[quote Baller]

But an impresza, steve, has been designed from the ground up to be one thing and one thing only - a very quick road car. From the engine mounted as low as possible, to the 4 wheel drive system and chasis.

This is a (fairly heavily) modifid version of a ford focus.

Granted, they have great chasis to begin with, but of course its going to be cheaper, because its been modified to make into a enertaining hot hatch, not a car designed to do so with every last bolt.

[/quote]

Erm, isn't an Impreza actually a fairly poor hatchback, which has been developed into a rally car? Granted, flat 4 engine and 4WD are Subaru USP's, but this doesn't mean that the impreza was designed from the outset to be a rally car? Also, the Evo is a "modified" cooking Lancer, again a pretty poor starting point compared to the Focus.

[quote jerry99]

It may be masked but I belive a transverse powertrain is going to force compromise in the engineering required.

[/quote]

Mitsubishi Evo?

[quote phenergn]

the focus platform doesn't currently offer 4wd. They would have had to completely engineer an entire 4 wheel drive system just to offer it on a low-ish volume model. This would have added vastly to the development costs, thousands to the cost of the car and put the profitability of the project in jeopardy.

[/quote]

The S40/V50 are based upon the same platform, and they have 4WD options available. More likely to cause problems with assembly lines that in engineering.

Granted, the type of 4WD system isn't ideal for a performance car, but I believe it is very similar to the system used by VAG in their transverse 4Motion / Quattro cars.

4 July 2008

I have been watching the development of the RS very carefully over the past few years and was really concerned when I heard rumours it would not be 4WD. But actually let's face it - time has moved on and so has technology, years ago you had to use 4WD if you had anything over 200ps - anyone remember the Escort RS 2000 4FWD, didn't it have 150ps?!

And you can get it wrong, very wrong when you make no effort to curb the power such as in the Vectra VXR and Alfa Romeo 156 GTA (just watch Top Gear clips on YouTube to see what happens!). But Ford have the best front wheel drive car on the market to start with and an excellent reputation for handling, 4WD is almost a lazy way now to deal with the power as there are lightweight options available which can be almost as good.

With regard to the Subaru and Evos, watch Clarkson's review of them on last weekend's Top Gear to see the difference. The Subaru came out pretty poorly (although it matched the Evos lap time much to Mr. C's disgust!), but the Evo was described as 'amazing' - but it cost £33,000!

Perhaps it is now time to change the recipe a bit with a powerful FWD car and a bag of trickery... the RS looks very promising.

4 July 2008

Being Ford, does this mean they will only build a small amount like the last Focus RS making your car a has been shortly after purchase, or will they build it full time like Volkswagen do with the Golf R32?

5 July 2008

Cant help thinking in todays climate it may be farily cheap to buy but with the very old Volvo 5 cylinder engine it will be very thirsty, just look at how much juice the ST uses. Dont get me wrong I will love it and want one. Cant wait to see next generation hot hatches, lighter, smaller more efficient engines. We seem to be heading back to the old days of the Escort RS turbo etc, but better with more efficient smaller but probably more powerful engines. Cant wait to see the next generation lightweight 1.8 turbo Focus etc that will do 35 to the gallon, or more advanced diesels.

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