A faster, higher-performance Ford Focus RS could arrive by 2015, according to the latest report from Autocar. The report suggests that development of the Focus RS is already underway, and that the car should debut by late 2014 or 2015.
We've heard rumblings about a Ford Focus RS for a long time; the car would supposedly offer more performance and a more hard-edged demeanor than the existing 252-hp Focus ST (pictured). But Ford officials have yet to announce such a vehicle, simply referring to it as a possibility.
Even though Ford must focus on mainstream products, especially in Europe where its profits have tumbled, the automaker reportedly believes that high-performance models can add brand cachet. Although he didn't specifically confirm a Focus RS, Ford Europe production development vice president Barb Samardzich told Autocar to "stay tuned" because Ford's "next step is to provide customers with more exemplary, smaller-volume highlight products."
Ford Europe also is apparently unconcerned that a Focus RS would harm sales of the existing Focus ST or the next-generation Mustang, also due by 2014 or 2015. "There are two different kinds of customers,"Samardzich told Autocar. "One for ST products, which are fun but have an everyday usability, and another, more racing-focused customer who wants an RS-type car. Evolving both alongside Mustang is complementary; the customers for one don't necessarily want the other."
As we have previously reported, Autocar says the Focus RS would use a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine with about 330-350 hp. To cope with that power, a limited-slip front differential and Ford's special Revoknucle suspension, which can reduce torque steer, would be employed. Stronger brakes, unique bodywork, and a sportier interior treatment would also be on the agenda.
Ford officials in the U.S., meanwhile, have repeatedly denied any knowledge of a future Focus RS. A spokesman previously told us, "Ford's always looking at any potential performance models," but for now there are no indications as to whether a stronger Focus would arrive here. The previous Focus RS, which used a tweaked Volvo turbo-five-cylinder engine, was not imported to America. Yet the availability of the new Fiesta ST provides a hint that Ford may be more interested in selling small performance cars in the States going forward.