“The best handling front-wheel-drive car in the world” – that’s what BTCC Champion Jason Plato had to say when he drove the Ford Focus RS on Britain’s “other motoring show”, Fifth Gear. And now rumour has it that the Focus RS is about to get even more hardcore before it officially bows out to be replaced by the current Focus.
Nothing has been confirmed yet as it all just remains as a rumour but the idea of a faster, harder, and more purpose built Focus RS is certainly every bit as mouth-watering as the Focus RS itself. According to sources, Ford is planning to build two models of the RS – one will be a stripped out ClubSport model designed to celebrate the current RS. It will feature 350hp derived from a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged engine, weight will be kept to a bare minimum thanks to a stripped out interior with lightweight seats. To keep its top notch handling, the ClubSport model will feature lower and harder suspension and even more stickier tyres. Apparently this helps the ClubSport see off the century sprint in just under five-seconds. It’s a fitting sending off to one of the best RS models in history.
The replacement Focus RS is not a fire-breathing lightweight monster like the ClubSport but rather a tree-hugging performance model with a hybrid powertrain that centers on Ford’s 2-liter EcoBoost four cylinder engine. According to Auto Express, French car maker Peugeot will be co-developing the hybrid engine with Ford and the next RS will utilise the same engine as Peugeot’s SR1 concept. The 218bhp 1.6-liter turbo engine also powers the Mini JCW and is augmented by a 95bhp electric motor but the Focus RS EcoBoost system will be mated to a slightly less powerful electric motor in order to ensure reliability.
Total output could stand at 300bhp, and with the engine driving the front wheels while the electric motor feeds the rear, expect the Focus RS to retain the phenomenal grip that Jason Plato lauded in his test drive. Expect 0-100 figures to stand at about five seconds and a 250km/h top speed.
Also contributing to the phenomenal traction is the same torque-vectoring system from the regular Focus; a development of the existing RS’s RevoKnockle suspension set-up and dynamic cornering control. In addition, the car will have the ability to juggle electric assistance according to road conditions, a stop-start system, brake energy recovery and a dual-clutch Powershift box. This means it could return 40mpg and emit 150g/km of CO2.
Sadly, the new Focus RS won’t arrive for at least another three years, for now we will have to be content with the current RS and the ClubSport model, not like that’s a bad thing but apparently there will be another sports model in the form of a non-hybrid ST with 240bhp and a 2-liter EcoBoost turbo. Great things are coming out of the blue oval, but sadly non of these models will make it to Malaysian shores, yet. Lets keep our fingers crossed that our local importer and distributor has some red-blood running through their veins and not just money-making in their heads, that’ll be the day.