Ford’s SVT group is still on the fence on whether to break its own mold by manufacturing a five-door Focus RS – all previous Foci RS were three-door hatches – or replace the Focus RS with the smaller Fiesta RS. That said, all of the confusion between what to build does not mean Ford isn’t raking its brain to plan on how to maximize the Focus’ power plant to satisfy RS buyers.
According to reports, the 2.0-liter plant in the Focus ST is pretty much maxed out and attempting to squeeze too much more power from it could be catastrophic without massive upgrades, and Focus RS buyer will not be happy with a simple 10 to 20-horsepower increase over the ST model. To help rectify the situation it appears as if engineers are turning to the future Mustang for an answer.
Ford is currently developing a turbo four-banger measuring 2.3-liter and pumping out 330 horsepower for the upcoming Mustang redesign , which will replace the base level V-6 engine. Matthias Ton, a chief engineer on the Focus RS project, confirmed that if indeed the Focus RS is produced this year, all signs point to it bearing this new 2.3-liter boosted four-cylinder under its aggressive-looking bonnet. That would give the newest rendition of the RS a full 32 ponies more than the latest model and only 15 horsepower less than the special edition RS500 Focus .
In addition to the extra ponies, the RS would include the typical larger brakes and stiffer suspension. There is also talk of a mechanical limited slip differential coming standard on the new RS, but that has not been confirmed.
We will continue to follow the Focus RS saga and let you know what is going on. We assume that the SVT division will come to its senses and just roll out a five-door Focus RS. Rolling out a low-horsepower, lightweight Fiesta RS just to retain the three-door body seems like a huge risk, as the Fiesta is not a “tuner” style car and an RS model is unlikely to draw much interest.