Six years have passed since the last Ford RS - the Mk1 Focus RS - finished its strictly limited production run. Now the famous badge has returned for its league of devoted fans and a new generation of performance car enthusiasts.
This new Ford Focus RS is the product of Ford Team RS, headed by Jost Capito, a committed car enthusiast and racer. Alongside Capito is a small team of dedicated performance car and motorsport engineering specialists, led by Chief Programme Engineer, John Wheeler, whose own expertise stretches over 20 years of Ford performance and motorsport vehicles.
The Ford Focus RS engine shares its fundamental structure with that of Focus ST, but that's where the similarities end. Powertrain manager Len Urwin knew from the beginning that simply adjusting the engine management system for more power would be insufficient for a true RS.
The objective was increasing power and torque without affecting durability. To meet that, multiple detail changes were made to the powertrain including a revised cylinder head gasket, ultra-durable metal sprayed cylinder bores, revised pistons and a bespoke camshaft profile and connecting rods, allowing bigger small end bearings.
Offering more torque than any Ford RS production car before it, the Ford Focus RS' torque curve has a steady state peak beginning at 2,300 rpm and running to 4,500 rpm, meaning torque can be appreciated in any gear and at most road speeds. The 440Nm peak torque is a 38 per cent increase over the Ford Focus ST.
The Ford Focus RS' major design features are all functional, as well as styled to create a lasting impression, with each doing an important job in managing the airflow over and into the car.
From the outset, Team RS worked with Ford's design and aerodynamics specialists to ensure performance style met performance requirements. The prominent front air splitter, twin-blade rear spoiler and rear venturi all underwent significant aerodynamic testing to achieve the right cooling and aerodynamic targets.
On the inside, the Ford Focus RS boasts a unique and appropriately performance-oriented interior, designed to appeal to customer tastes and balance genuine sports performance with a strong sense of style and quality.
The Ford Focus RS' cabin is dominated by bespoke Recaro high-performance sports seats, specially designed and trimmed in an authentic motorsport microfibre, a tactile material that also provides the grip and support necessary when driving enthusiastically. Each is colour-matched to the exterior, with ebony leather accents and 'RS' and 'Recaro' logos stitched into each backrest. Alternatively, optional Ebony black, partial-leather seats will be available with all exterior colours.
The Ford Focus RS goes on sale in the UK in March 2009.Published 28 January 2009