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AWD 2015 Ford Focus RS revealed with 235kW-plus

Ford has revealed its all-wheel drive 2015 Ford Focus RS which runs the Mustang’s EcoBoost engine and boasts more than 235kW and 433Nm.

LEAKED ONLINE HOURS before its official unveiling, Ford took the wraps off its 2015 Ford Focus RS in the early hours of the morning (our time). Boasting all-wheel drive and the 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder from the Mustang, the Focus RS offers more than 235kW and 433Nm of torque (an exact figure has still to be released) – “Both the transmission and the clutch have been upgraded with stronger components to cope with the engine’s increased torque output,” Ford said.

On the topic of torque, Ford has said it had to modify the six-speed manual the Focus RS shares with the Mustang to handle the additional torque compared with the Mustang (and that vehicle offers 433Nm of torque). The release of the Focus RS is part of Fords commitment to release 12 performance vehicles by 2020.

The Focus RS engine has been poked and prodded, according to Ford. “Increased output is generated by a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with larger compressor that delivers significantly greater air flow, along with a much bigger intercooler to maximise charge density. Engine breathing also is enhanced through a less restrictive intake design, and a large-bore high performance exhaust system with an electronically controlled valve in the tailpipe that helps optimise the balance of back pressure and noise output,” the company said.

Developed by Ford Performance engineers in Europe and the US (Ken Block was a consultant and was on hand at the unveiling in Germany overnight – he also Hooned a prototype …), the Focus RS is the third-generation of Focus RS cars, following models launched in 2002 and 2009. It is also the 30th Ford to wear the legendary RS badge, following such icons as the 16-valve 1970 Escort RS1600, the turbocharged Sierra RS Cosworth of 1985, and the four-wheel-drive 1992 Escort RS Cosworth.

2015 Ford Focus revealed

A truly global product, the 2015 Focus RS is the first ever RS model that will be sold around the world and will be produced for all markets at Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany, manufacturing plant beginning late this year. Australia can expect to see deliveries in 2016.

Under the Focus RS is an all-wheel drive system based on twin electronically-controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit. These units are able to shuffle torque to the front and back, side to side and even to individual wheels, monitoring inputs 100 times per second.

“A maximum of 70 per cent of the drive torque can be diverted to the rear axle. Up to 100 per cent of the available torque at the rear axle can be sent to each rear wheel,” Ford said.

“This AWD system is a breakthrough technology, capable of delivering supreme cornering and handling at the limit,” said Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance. “We have ripped up the rulebook which says that AWD hatchbacks cannot be fun to drive, and have created a car which will surprise and reward in equal measure.”

Beyond AWD, the Focus RS gets bespoke sports suspension with spring rates, bushes and anti-roll-bars all of which are stiffer than those found in the Focus ST, and two-mode switchable dampers, which offer a firmer setting for track driving.

While they’re often criticised in performance applications, Ford has persisted with an electric power-assisted steering system (EPAS) for the Focus RS. And if it’s work on the ST is anything to go by, there’ll be nothing to worry about.

“The Focus ST and Fiesta ST showed that we can achieve sporty steering feel with an EPAS system, and the RS raises the bar. We set out to provide keen drivers with steering which is very direct, precise and well balanced – and the RS delivers,” Pericak said.

The Focus RS will be offered with two types of tyres: standard fit Michelin 235/35 R19 Pilot Super Sport; and – for the first time on an RS – an optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyre for track driving. It rides on 19-inch alloys.

In terms of its looks, the Focus RS is based on the garden-variety Focus, but gets a new front-end look with a bold upper trapezoidal grille above the deep front splitter, incorporating gaping intakes for engine cooling. At the rear, the bumper is dominated by the diffuser, which optimises air flow from under the vehicle to reduce drag, and contains the twin round high-performance exhaust outlets and, in Europe and Asia, a clear central fog lamp. The distinctive rear roof spoiler is carefully integrated with the car’s silhouette through body-coloured side panels featuring a subtle embossed RS logo.

Standard Bi-Xenon HID headlamps offer Adaptive Front Lighting, which adjusts the intensity and angle of the headlamp beams according to vehicle speed, steering angle and distance to objects for optimal illumination. Customers also can specify the latest Active City Stop automatic braking technology which operates at speeds of up to 50km/h.

2015 Ford Focus RS leaked online

Inside, standard fit are partial-leather Recaro sports seats, with signature RS Recaro shell seats a cost option in Europe and Asia. On display is the redesigned dashboard from the Focus offering SYNC connectivity provides access to audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones via voice control, and via a high-definition, eight-inch colour touchscreen. SYNC also can be cost-optioned to include Rear View Camera with park distance control, as well as a Sony premium sound system with 10-speakers including a subwoofer.

Four exterior colours include Nitrous Blue (exclusive to the Focus RS), Stealth Grey, Absolute Black and Frozen White. The car pictured features the same special Liquid Blue colour scheme first seen on the all-new Ford GT revealed last month at the Detroit Motor Show – it won’t be commercially available.

Local details will be released closer to the vehicle’s launch in Australia. That said, you can expect a drip-feeding of information between now and then.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober