Forbidden no more: Ford to bring Focus RS hatchback to U.S. market

Ford's Focus RS to pack more than 315 turbocharged horsepower, torque-vectoring

Ford’s performance division launched yet another speed-seeking model Tuesday morning with the announcement of the all-new Focus RS hatchback.

The news comes less than a month after Ford stirred the Detroit Auto Show by unveiling not only the exotic carbon fiber GT supercar, but the 2017 F-150 Raptor performance truck and the track-oriented Shelby Mustang GT350R.

The all-wheel-drive Focus RS gives Ford a more approachable (affordable) model for performance fans since it’s based on the economy-minded Focus compact car. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but it’s likely the RS will start between $30,000 and $35,000 when it goes on sale at the end of this year.

The RS has long been forbidden fruit for the U.S. market, selling in Europe for two previous generations but never making it stateside until now.

“We are acutely aware of the benchmarks we have set ourselves with RS performance models through the years, and rest assured this new car raises the game to a new level,” Jim Farley, president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a statement announcing the car.

The car is aimed at other rally-inspired all-wheel-drive compact cars like the Subaru STI and the Volkswagen Golf R. It sits atop Ford’s Focus model range, with the ST and base models below it.

The RS comes with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that packs a turbocharged punch of “well in excess” of 315 horsepower. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard. The car also comes with a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system that can distribute different levels of power between the left and right wheel for added traction and power out of turns.

The car also comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, Recaro seats, and an eight-inch Sync touchscreen navigation system.

The Focus RS is one of 12 new or revised models Ford’s performance division plans to bring to market by 2020. This includes several versions of the Mustang, the GT supercar headed to production in 2016, the Raptor truck, and the existing subcompact Fiesta ST and compact Focus ST.

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