Ford releases official pictures of its 278bhp megahatch, the Focus RS
12 June 2008

Here, in first official pictures from its Nurburgring development programme, is Ford’s fantastic new performance flagship, the 2009 Focus RS.Ahead of the Focus RS’s public debut at the London motor show six weeks from now, Ford is honing the new 2009 RS’s performance and handling extensively in Germany at the Nurburgring. Autocar can now officially confirm that the 2009 RS will be powered by a specially developed version of the Duratec 2.5-litre turbo engine, that’s been ‘significantly revised’ to offer at least 278bhp and 295lb ft of torque.It will definitely be front-wheel-drive, with a limited slip differential helping to get that 278bhp down to the road. Ford is believed to be testing at the 'Ring to work out just how much power the Focus RS can realistically offer through its front-wheels and gearbox. Ford’s Cologne-based Team RS, the specialist group creating the hard-edged hatch, has been exploring ways to optimize the new Focus RS’s front-drive dynamics using new, advanced technology in the chassis and drive system. The advanced front diff is though to have been developed by engineering specialists Quaife, who developed the differential technology for the previous model.The team working on this all-new RS are the same group who were responsible for the original Focus RS in 2002, the Fiesta ST and the Focus ST. "In early prototypes based on Focus ST vehicles, the new system is more than meeting our targets for exceptional levels of traction, handling and steering," said Jost Capito, head of Team RS.Ford’s promising that the Focus RS will take the performance qualities of the ST hot hatch and amplify them to the next level, using know-how from the company’s World Rally programme to help further develop the car.Leaked pictures of an ‘ultimate green’ Focus RS, which Autocar revealed yesterday, are thought to be early mock-up photos from Belgium, developed to show Ford dealers what they can expect from the Blue Ovals new hardcore performance hatch. ‘Ultimate green’ will be the colour of the London show car and is a reference to the BP-sponsored world rally car colours. These latest shots of a black RS at the Nurburgring are the first official photos of the real-life car.“The time is right for Ford to deliver a new high performance model for the legions of loyal Ford RS customers around Europe," concluded Jost Capito. We couldn’t agree more.

Will Powell

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12 June 2008

I realise there's more to it than just the power, but aren't there already aftermarket tuning packages available for the Focus ST which take it to over 300bhp?

12 June 2008

It seems to have lost at least 22bhp overnight...

12 June 2008

Yeah there are packages for the ST that boost it up to 330bhp... I think there is a kit from Wolf to be specific (WR330). Putting this much power in the ST instantly renders the cars handling pretty much useless though, so I think Ford are being pretty sensible with their performance figures, especially for a FWD car.

13 June 2008

Let's hope they've done something really special with the chassis then, otherwise it looks a lot like a warmed-up ST. If they've made 280bhp and FWD really work, then well done to them.

13 June 2008

Erm, Luke who said the handling of a 300bhp Focus ST was useless? I find your glib statement rather annoying simply because people may believe you!I believe these cars in fact received good reviews on account of their value for money. People often have irrational subjective limits on the feasibility of certain aspects of cars. 'Too heavy, too fast , too powerful simply because they redefine what is possible or are far from the norm. Basically Luke you have a basic cynicism and a fear of the unknown or the new.It wasnt too long ago when if propositioned with the idea of 150bhp in FWD would say in a generic regional accent with a slight Daily Mail tone ' Urrr, NO that’s fat too much power, it’ll torque steer you into a ditch that will. Silly, it needs 4wd like my 4x4 2.0l Sierra GLS.'Luke, things have moved on since those days.Properly sorted there is nothing wrong with power in a FWD. Even over ten years the Integra Type R handled nearly 200bhp on 185 wide tires! Tires, differentials, traction control and suspension design have come a long way since then. I actually drive a Focus ST and am considering whether to upgrade it or simply buy a different car. The ST needs more power. Oh by the way, many FWD cars actually limit the boost and (therefore torque) in 1st and 2nd gear. The WR cars do this. So in a way it doesn’t matter what the headline figure is as it wont be available at speeds where wheel spin is an issue.It is inevitable that as the ability to contain and use the power increased the fastest FWD cars will have the 330 bhp that you find so unacceptable and i wonder if the Golf GTi of twenty years from now will have 'useless handling'? No I don’t think so. Mass produced cars will always have FWD while they still have an 'engine' and until they drive themselves there will always be hot versions for people to enjoy. If cars get lighter and don’t actually develop over 300bhp for energy efficiency reasons they will still have a power to weight ratio similar a 330bhp hatch of today anyway. Also, I add isn’t there an impending 360bhp Focus ST from Wolf? Don’t say ‘well if your theory is true , one day there will be a 1000bhp FWD car. There will not as by the time it is so easy to produce that kind of power on mass scale cars will: A- be able to drive themselves. B- have 4WD very efficiently and cheaply on the hot hatches, probably via individual electric motors. I cant answer the question what the most powerful manufacturer FWD car will be before cars change for ever but I wouldn’t bet against 350bhp only 80 or so more than what’s available now.I look forward to the arrival of the Focus RS. I hope Ford is sensible enough to make sure the RS has at least 300bhp.

13 June 2008


what you people seem to forget is its not out right power that's always needed its as Colin Chapman advocated lightness where its needed.This car will probably weigh 1400kg, so 290BHP is plenty, an agile chassis set-up, and some light weight panels i.e bonnet, boot lid, maybe thinner glass, lighter alloys and hey presto! a car that will run with more expensive cars for half the price.of course this all depends on a lot of things,the credit crunch,whether FORD has cliniced the car correctly,and if they price it correctly not like SUBARU who want silly money for there product.FORD could be on to a winner if they listen to us the people who like FMC cars,if they could make it for £25K i would be interested - WHAT SAY ALL OF YOU - please send your pleas to FORD.

Peter Cavellini.

14 June 2008

If they sell it for £25k then I may very well go and buy one. I love the ST which already goes like a train. Personally, I just wish that Ford would stop talking about it and bloody well make the thing. They've been talking about it for years and years.

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