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U.S.-Market 2016 Ford Focus RS Packs 350 HP, 350 LB-FT

"Stall recovery" feature helps novices tame the car's clutch.

Ford initially claimed the 2.3-liter turbo-four engine in the new Focus RS would produce at least 315 hp, and then upped the ante to 345 hp for the Euro-spec RS. But the company announced today even burlier numbers for the American-market car: On our shores, the 2016 Ford Focus RS will crank out a tantalizing 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.

Those figures easily trounce the car's primary all-wheel-drive rivals: The Volkswagen Golf R produces only 292 hp and the Subaru WRX STI has 305 hp. The considerably more expensive Mercedes-AMG CLA45 and GLA45 offer 375 hp from their 2.0-liter turbo-four engines, but their lofty sticker prices mean they're unlikely to be cross-shopped with the RS.

With up to 23.2 psi of boost from its turbocharger, the 2016 Ford Focus RS will hit 60 mph in a claimed 4.7 seconds when using its launch-control system. A six-speed manual transmission and a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system help direct power to the road. And to help drives who aren't used to driving a manual transmission, the Focus RS even has a "stall recovery" function. Misjudge the car's clutch and stall the engine, and it will automatically restart when you depress the clutch. The system was an unintended benefit of adding an engine stop-start system to save fuel, says Ford Performance Europe engineering manager Tyrone John.

"We said, 'What if we went one step further, and controlled for engine stall at launch using the same technology?'" he said in a statement.

Production of the 2016 Ford Focus RS begins later this year. The car will start at $36,605 in the U.S., with Recaro partial-leather seats, the Sync 3 infotainment system, and a 10-speaker audio system as standard. The $2,785 RS2 package adds a power driver's seat, full-leather seats, heated mirrors, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and navigation.

The very fast, very powerful 2016 Ford Focus RS rockets into U.S. showrooms in spring 2016.