Our friends over at Drivers Republic have just made a comparison test between two of the most powerful hatchbacks on the European market, Ford’s rally inspired Focus RS and Renault’s wild Megane R26.R . Which hot hatch reigns supreme? You’ll just have to watch the video to find out.
We apologize for getting your hopes up about seeing the rally inspired Focus RS in Ford dealerships here in the U.S. , and despite the company’s Executive Vice President, Mark Fields telling me that “anything is possible” with a reserved grin on his face, apparently a U.S. spec RS is not.
Apparently the Focus RS that was spotted in Michigan wearing manufacturer plates was nothing more than a false alarm. The official word was handed down by Jost Capito, the man in charge of Ford’s global performance division. In an interview with AutoCar magazine, the Ford representative said that "we’d like to [bring the RS to the U.S.], but the base car isn’t homologated for North America and that’s too costly a job to carry out just for a niche vehicle like the RS."
So if you were saving up your paychecks to go out and pick up a Focus RS as soon as it came stateside, we were sorry to get your hopes up. The way that things are looking, it is more likely that you will be able to purchase a Fiesta Sport than Ford’s latest hot hatch.
When Ford announced plans for their factory tuned Focus RS they also reveal the hot hatch will be limited to just 4000 units. So, if you were hoping to snatch one up, but you still haven’t, we have some bad news for you. 2400 of the Ford factory hot rods have already been sold. If you are still interested, you have two options: wait six months and hope there will still be a few examples laying around, or fork over a pretty pound to get one.
Those mostly affected by the news are the blue oval enthusiasts in the U.K. Their stock has already been depleted. So if you go down to your local Ford dealership and make the payment, you will have to wait until December to get behind the wheel. Or you could check out the used car market, there are a few examples around, but they start at around £27,250 and already have about 500 miles on clock.
Whereas we here in the U.S. are still waiting for the big wigs at Ford to give the RS a shot here in the American market.
The first Ford Focus RS has been spotted in the U.S., and in Royal Oak, Michigan of all places. However we here at Top Speed are familiar with those manufacturer tags, and know that the M in the middle of the license plate means exactly that, manufacturer.
Hopefully this employee of the Ford Motor Company will be able to come up with some rationale as to why the 300 HP hot hatch should be sold stateside. Hear that development engineer, or marketing guy or even some executive’s kid. Go back to where you got this car from and don’t stop pleading until the order is placed to bring 1000 or so of these 2.5 Liter turbocharged RS’s over to this side of the pond.
Answering the age old question about the benefits of affordable speed, the gang at AutoCar took the opportunity to look at two different versions of cheep speed. The Focus RS running with Subaru STi’s and rally bred EVO’s, while the $80,000 Nissan GT-R makes supercars twice as expensive seem like a joke. So which is a better bargain? Check out the video to find out!
The folks over at iMotor have put Ford’s latest hot hatch, theFocus RS through its paces with a rigorous 5 point test. Evaluating everything from the Europe only vehicle’s performance, handling, looks...
So what did they think of the 2.5 Liter 300 HP turbocharged RS, you will just have to watch to find out.
Every time we’ve mentioned the Ford Focus RS , we’ve also had to bite down hard and mention that it wasn’t coming to North America. But maybe whining does help us get our way, because when the next-generation international Ford Focus shows up in the U.S. in 2010, the next-generation RS may not be too far behind.
There still are plenty of hurdles in the way. For starters North America has to first show a strong demand for the new Focus before the RS is considered, and also what about the quote from the ford insider that said the current Focus RS was, "likely to be the last car of this type you will see from Ford."
Ford we at TopSpeed are giving you an open invitation to let us help you do whatever it takes to bring a 305 hp hot hatch here (we’re not above sacrificing interns.)
Ford may just give us another reason for wanting the Focus RS in North America: it may become a record holder at Nurburgring. The Focus RS is after 8 min and 17 sec top hot hatch time set by the 230 hp Renault Megane R26.R on the North Loop.
A Ford spokesman said in an interview to AutoCar, "It’s no secret that we will be looking to achieve a time at the ’Ring, but there’s no set schedule for it. We didn’t get any opportunities before Christmas because the car’s production set-up wasn’t confirmed and the weather was against us. But we can work on it now."
Ford’s next opportunity to tackle the Nurburgring could come as early as its March 31st industry event.
The Ford Focus RS is a car we in North America may give certain parts of our anatomy for, but soon it may be a car Europe will lust for too. It seems that when the Euro-only Focus RS goes away it may take Ford’s whole hot hatch line with it to the grave.
A Ford insider told iMotor Magazine, "The new Focus RS is pretty special, and not just because of its incredible performance, but because it’s likely to be the last car of this type you will see from Ford. People should enjoy cars like the Focus RS while they can. It’s unlikely you will see driver focused high performance hatchbacks ever again." But remember the quote is from a European magazine speaking to a European Ford representative. North America has never been a true haven for the hot hatch, and with technology like EcoBoost , fast Fords like the new Taurus SHO may still flow into America.
So when its all over, this may be a case of is it better to have loved and lost than to never loved at all?
Ford released a new promotional video of the Focus RS to help give the Europeans a little more detail on the car, but it also taunts us in the U.S. with a hot hatch we can’t have. Because the Focus RS is powered by a 2.5-liter 20-valve DOHC engine that delivers 300 hp at 6500 and a peak torque of 440 NM (325 lb-ft.), we were hoping that Ford was at least going to show us a little front wheel burnout.