Report: Ford Focus RS May Have 350 HP, Electronic Front Differential

The 2013 Ford Focus ST is already quite a tasty performance car, with a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that puts out 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Yet the go-fast junkies at Ford's Team RS are already said to be working on a hotter Focus RS, which Auto Express says could offer up to 350 hp.

We've heard several times before that a successor to the Ford Focus RS would use a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four engine. The engine is expected to appear in the next Ford Mustang, too, and has previously been promised to offer anywhere from 320 to 330 hp. Now Auto Express says that Team RS has its eyes on equipping the Focus RS with 350 hp.

While the company could simply strap a larger turbocharger onto the 2.0-liter turbo-four engine in the Focus ST (pictured above), doing so would reportedly compromise low-end torque and drivability too much, which is why Team RS is pushing for a larger 2.3-liter mill.

The previous-generation Ford Focus RS (pictured below) wasn't sold in the U.S. It used a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five engine with 300 hp; opting for the limited edition RS500 bumped power to 345 hp. But that engine didn't meet new European emissions regulations, and was scrapped when Ford introduced the new Focus ST.

Sending 350 hp through the front wheels of a hot hatchback can be a recipe for torque steer and spinning tires. Ford believes it has the answer in the form of an "E-diff," an electronically controlled limited-slip front differential. That allows the car's computer to decide how much to lock the differential based on current driving conditions and driver input. The benefit: an expected 0-to-60-mph time below five seconds.

Auto Express also reports that Ford is considering adding a beefier version of its PowerShift dual-clutch transmission to the Focus RS. The transmission is offered on the regular Ford Focus but not on the Focus ST. While Ford would continue to offer a traditional manual on the RS, a dual-clutch transmission would broaden the car's appeal, probably make it slightly quicker, and would bring it on par with rival hot hatches like the Volkswagen GTI's DSG dual-clutch transmission. However, Team RS is reportedly uncertain about including PowerShift because it adds considerable weight.

A spokesman for Ford's Special Vehicles Team (SVT) in the U.S. said he couldn't confirm the reports of plans for a future Focus RS. "Even if we were planning it, we wouldn't be able to comment on it," he told us. Nevertheless, he didn't deny the possibility of future go-fast cars: "Ford's always looking at any potential performance models."

Auto Express says the Ford Focus RS could go on sale in 2014. Pricing in the U.K. will reportedly be about 20 percent higher than that of the Focus ST, which could mean a sticker of at least $29,000 if the car were sold stateside.

Source: Auto Express

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