Ford Plans Hardcore Version Of The Focus RS
As if the already smoldering Ford Focus RS isn’t hot enough, Ford Performance is considering going full blast on the high-performance hatchback with a limited edition model that’s going to break new ground for hot hatchbacks everywhere. According to Autocar, the Ford braintrust is paying close attention to the reactions of building such a model. If the company can justify building one, expect it to become the fastest-accelerating hatchback in history.
That’s incredible news for a Focus line whose latest RS iteration already packs 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than any of its major competitors, including the new Civic Type-R, Volkswagen Golf R, and Subaru WRX STI.
As sexy as it sounds to see a more hardcore version of the Focus RS, it would take an enormous amount of resources to pull that off. That’s something Ford isn’t keen on doing. The more likely scenario would be for the company to take the route of shaving as much weight off of the car as it can to improve its power-to-weight ratio. Doing so would entail using methods like polycarbonate glazing and materials like carbon fiber-reinforced plastic to get the job done. If Ford can pull that off and strip off enough weight from the interior, it could shave off as much as 220 pounds off of the Focus RS’ weight. From there, Ford will likely turn its focus (no pun intended) on improving the drivetrain without completely changing the engine. That will supposedly involve adding a new electronically controlled limited-slip differential and introducing a dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
In the event that Ford does end up making one, expect the hardcore Focus RS to shoot for the stars and target the Mercedes-AMG A45 and the Audi RS3, the segment’s owners of the fastest 0-to-62-mph sprint with times of 4.2 and 4.3 seconds, respectively. The current Focus RS can do it in 4.7 seconds, so beating the A45 and the RS3 is going to be the company’s first and most important priority.
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Why it matters
The hot hatchback segment may not gain the same amount of buzz as some markets in the business, but rest assured, it’s home to some of the most competitive cars in the entire business. Outside of the Focus RS, the A45, and the RS3, this segment is also populated by the likes of the Honda Civic Type-R, Volkswagen Golf R, Subaru WRX STI, Renault Mégane RS 275 Cup-S, and Opel Astra OPC Extreme. Yikes. If this we’re boxing, coming up with a pound-for-pound ranking of these cars would be a massive endeavor.
But, Ford’s looking to make the choice for the top spot in that ranking much easier. The company has a lot to gain if it releases a more hardcore version of the Focus RS. At the very least, there’s the positive publicity that’s going to come with becoming the first hot hatch to break the four-second, 0-to-60 mph barrier since the 2010 Subaru Cosworth Impreza STI CS400. That kind of cache has the chance to trickle down to the rest of the Focus lineup and increase the popularity of all the Focus variants Ford has for sale.
Then there’s the matter of bragging rights. Manufacturers will dismiss any talk of this, but let’s be real about it. With so many hot hatchbacks lining up to become the best, you can be sure that there’s a tremendous amount of competition among these brands to prove that their model is the king of this jungle. If Ford does build this hardcore Focus RS, and it becomes the fastest accelerating hatch in the market, there will be no question in anybody’s mind as to who’s going to be the top dog in the segment.
Read our full review on the Ford Focus RS here.