The all-paw performance sports car arena is about to get shaken up in 2016 as Ford’s sizzling hot Focus RS is all set for Australian shores, arriving in dealerships from mid-next year.
Bringing with it to the segment, which includes the Volkswagen Golf R, Subaru WRX STI, Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG and Audi S3, is 257kW of power and 440Nm of torque from its specially tuned 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to an all-wheel-drive system. An overboost function will push torque up to 470Nm for up to 15 seconds.
Even more worrying for the rivals, is the Focus RS’ sharp pricing of $50,990 plus on-roads, a sticker that undercuts all its competitors bar the WRX STI.
“The Focus RS is the latest example of our expanded performance lineup in Australia and showcase of the Ford Performance team’s ambitious spirit that is a halo of our innovation locally and across the company,” according to Ford President and CEO, Graeme Whickman. “It delivers refined power, a high level of technology, advanced Ford Performance all-wheel drive and uncompromised driving dynamics that is true to the spirit of the RS nameplate.
“Delivering a car like the Focus RS is also the result of the enormous R&D investment the brand puts into its vehicles. In Australia alone, we’re investing more than $300 million in R&D this year, bringing our total R & D investment to almost $2 billion over the past six years.”
Developed by Ford Performance, the Focus RS is the Blue Oval’s sixth new performance model in two years and will sit as the halo performance hatch above the Fiesta ST and Focus ST.
“We are investing and innovating to take on the world’s best vehicles after pulling our various performance groups into the single Ford Performance global team,” says Jamal Hameedi, global chief engineer, Ford Performance. “We are not limiting ourselves to similarly priced vehicles as we now have the singular focus to go after the best just as we are doing with the Ford GT at LeMans and the Focus RS global launch.
“At the same time, we have to deliver on Ford’s mission to bring innovation to the masses, not just a few. So, the Focus RS is not only the most powerful performance hatch but it’s also the most affordable in Australia.”
The 2.3-litre ecoboost direct-injection engine has been significantly refined with low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with larger compressor. It’s now equipped with Auto-Start-Stop and is matched exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission with a shorter gear lever to deliver faster and more accurate shifts. While Ford hasn’t officially revealed the RS’ performance, it is speculated to hit 100km/h in under 5.0 seconds.
With Focus RS, Ford is introducing its All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring. The Focus RS is also the first Ford RS model equipped with selectable Drive Modes – including an industry-first Drift Mode that allows controlled oversteer drifts – and Launch Control.
The Ford Performance AWD system is based on twin electronically-controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit. These manage the car’s front/rear torque split, and also can control the side-to-side torque distribution on the rear axle – delivering the “torque vectoring” capability, which has a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability.
The control unit in the rear drive unit continuously varies the front/rear and side-to-side torque distribution to suit the current driving situation, monitoring inputs from multiple vehicle sensors 100 times per second. A maximum of 70 per cent of the drive torque can be diverted to the rear axle. Up to 100 per cent of the available torque at the rear axle can be sent to each rear wheel.
During cornering, the rear drive unit pre-emptively diverts torque to the outer rear wheel immediately based on inputs such as steering wheel angle, lateral acceleration, yaw and speed. This torque transfer has the effect of “driving” the car into the bend, achieving improved turn-in and stability, and virtually eliminating understeer.
Four exterior colours are available on the Focus RS, with Nitrous blue being the feature colour in the Australian market. Other colours are White, Magnetic and Shadow Black. Customers will also be able to equip their RS hatches with a special optional 19-inch performance tyre pack for $2,500.
Visually, the 2016 Focus RS draws on unique design features including:
- New front fascia and grille, including optimised inlets for engine and brake cooling
- New rear fascia with large diffuser element including twin exhaust outlets
- Optimised front and rear spoilers to deliver balanced aerodynamics, with zero lift front and rear
- Unique 19-inch multi-spoke RS alloy wheels
The RS’ interior sporting features and detailing include:
- Signature RS-branded Recaro shell seats, with authentic motorsport micro-fibre fabric panels
- Flat-base sports steering wheel with a soft-feel leather covered rim and RS badging
- Binnacle gauges displaying turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure
- Satin chrome-topped gear lever
- Alloy foot pedals
- Distinctive blue RS stitching on the seats, steering wheel, floor mats and interior trim, the coloured graphic on the gear shifter, and RS logo on the seats, steering wheel and door scuff plate
Performance Wheel Pack:
The wheels and tyres in this optional pack are designed to improve the Focus RS on track performance while still being suitable for every day road use.
- 19-inch forged alloys
- High-performance lightweight design
- Low gloss black colour
- Enhanced strength & impact resistance
- Weight saving
- 235/35 R19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
- Enhanced performance in dry and wet track conditions
|Focus RS||2.3-litre EcoBoost|
|Maximum Power||257 kW @ 6,000 rpm|
|Maximum Torque||440 Nm @ 1,600-5,000 rpm|
|Recommended Fuel||95-98 RON|
|Fuel Economy||8.1 litres/100km4|
|Kerb weight||1,575 kg|
|Tare mass||1,543 kg|
|Fuel tank||52.6 litres|
- 5-door bodystyle
- Unique RS bodykit / fascia
- 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels
- Bi-Xenon HID with LED DTRL
- Keyless entry
- Thatcham alarm
- Recaro-branded shell seats – Partial leather / Micro-fibre fabric panels
- SYNC2 with Emergency Assistance
- High-resolution 8-inch high resolution colour touch screen
- Bluetooth with audio streaming
- Natural language Voice Control for phone, music, climate and navigation controls
- Satellite Navigation with ‘One Shot’ destination entry via Voice Control
- 9-speaker audio
- USB & RCA inputs
- Rearview camera
- Dual-zone climate control
- Push button start
- Cruise Control with speed limiter