Ford might have unveiled the new-look Focus ST at Britain’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, but it has been trying hard to deny the go-faster Focus RS exists.
Any denials will now fall on deaf ears – here are the first pictures of the five-door RS. Ford has for months blurred the answers to questions about an RS. Ford of Europe chief Barb Samardzich told British media that “there’s a strong desire” to build a Focus RS, but she wouldn’t confirm such a car was under development.
Another Ford executive, this one unnamed, was reported as saying: “We have a rich heritage of RS cars, and we’re not about to let any competitors overtake us in that respect.”
Well, Ford has been sprung! Here’s the evidence, an RS pictured in two locations: semi-disguised on Germany’s Nurburgring circuit and parked near a motorway off-ramp car park. Ford has used ST styling elements on the RS test car, but there’s a giveaway.
Check out the pictures: The ST gets twin exhaust tips at the centre of the rear – the RS gets exhaust tips pushed more towards either side. A band running round the back of the Nurburgring car is there to hide the new exhausts, but they are clearly visible on the parked black RS.
The RS is expected to be powered by a turbocharged 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine delivering between 245 and 260kW. It will send power to the front wheels via an electronic differential and Ford’s Revoknuckle front suspension, designed specifically for go-faster front-wheel drives.
The Focus RS mightn’t appear officially until 2016. Why the delay? The RS is the hero Focus for Ford and talk is it wants a last hurrah for the range before the all-new Focus is expected in 2017.
Meantime, the ST gets a refreshed design and a slightly more powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. Up front there’s a hexagonal grille similar to the Fiesta ST, narrower headlights, and more aggressive bumper. Changes at the rear include smaller tail-lights.
Under the bonnet is the same Ecoboost engine but tuned to generate 188kW, up 4kW on the outgoing model. Torque is also up from 360Nm to 367Nm. The six-speed manual transmission from the previous ST has been carried over.
The addition of a stop-start system for the first time has Ford claiming improved fuel use, from 7.2 litres/100km in the outgoing car to 6.8 litres. Consequently, emisssions are down from 169 gr/km to 158gr/km.