Barely a few weeks after making a splash at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Ford is back with another all-new model and this time, it is a high-performance hatch in the guise of the third-generation Focus RS. When Ford announces that professional rally driver and star of the Gymkhana films, Ken Block is serving as a consultant on the car’s development, you know it means business.
On the outside, aggression is the word with a new front end featuring huge air intakes protected by a thin mesh to keep the engine cool. Continuing on to the rear, we see a large diffuser to channel air from under the vehicle and twin exhaust pipes.
Where the Focus ST delivers 252 hp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four pot, the RS takes it up a notch with a 2.3-litre turbo four-cylinder, sourced from the EcoBoost-powered Mustang and pushing more than 315 hp. Paired to a 6-speed manual transmission, power is then sent to the ground via an all-wheel-drive system.
The previous Focus RS was front-wheel drive so all-wheel drive should equate to a more exciting experience because the system features torque vectoring as well, capable of sending up to 70% of torque to the rear axle, and from that amount, 100% of it can be sent to each wheel. Those wheels are 19-inch alloys wrapped in 235/35 R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres with the option of having Pilot Sport Cup 2 ones instead.
Other bits that affect handling include upgraded suspension with stiffer springs, antiroll bars, and two-mode switchable dampers. The steering is electric power-assisted as well, said to provide drivers a ‘connected and responsive steering with outstanding feel’.
Moving into the cabin, Recaro sports seats can be seen along with an 8-inch touchscreen SYNC infotainment unit. Adding to the performance-focused nature of the car are alloy pedals, flat-bottomed steering wheel, and an additional set of gauges above the centre console.
Ford is touting it as a global model available in select markets. Whether that market involves us in Malaysia, we'll have to wait and see. However, do look forward to the Ford Focus RS when it makes its official debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March.