Ford’s per­for­mance Fo­cus

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDI­TOR joshua.dowl­ing@news.com.au

THE Mus­tang may be the star in Ford’s per­for­mance-car spot­light, but an­other high­pow­ered present is just around the cor­ner.

Ford has con­firmed pro­duc­tion of the new gen­er­a­tion Fo­cus RS — and it is com­ing to Australia.

The new Fo­cus RS is set to be Ford’s fastest and most pow­er­ful hot hatch ever, pow­ered by the same tur­bocharged 2.3-litre en­gine used in the up­com­ing Mus­tang — with all-wheel-drive grip to get its grunt to the road.

The pocket rocket will also help en­thu­si­asts find their near­est race­track to ex­ploit the car’s per­for­mance.

“Sim­ple voice com­mands such as ‘find a race­track’ en­able RS own­ers to get in­stant di­rec­tions to the near­est public cir­cuit,” says Ford.

The high-pow­ered en­gine in such a small car is tipped to chal­lenge the likes of the Volk­swa­gen Golf R and Subaru WRX STI.

Ford is yet to con­firm tim­ing and pric­ing but the Fo­cus RS is ex­pected in our show­rooms in the first half of 2016, with a sharp price likely to un­der­cut the $50,000 Golf R and WRX STI.

Ford Australia has de­vel­oped a pat­tern of un­der­cut­ting its hot hatch ri­vals: the Fi­esta ST at $25,990 is cheaper than the VW Polo GTI, Re­nault Clio RS and Peu­geot 208 GTI and the $38,290 Fo­cus ST costs less than the VW Golf GTI and Subaru WRX de­spite be­ing bet­ter equipped.

Over-de­liv­er­ing and un­der­pric­ing is part of Ford’s plan to at­tract buy­ers who have not pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered its per­for­mance cars be­fore.

Ford says it wants vol­ume sales from its new global per­for­mance model, which means the new Fo­cus RS will be less of a niche ve­hi­cle and more widely avail­able. It is one of 12 new per­for­mance cars due be­fore 2020.

Ford will re­veal fur­ther de­tails at next month’s Geneva mo­tor show but says the new Fo­cus RS will have “well in ex­cess” of 230kW.

Over­seas re­ports have spec­u­lated an out­put of 250kW of power and more than 450Nm of torque (up from 224kW and 440Nm from the pre­vi­ous Fo­cus RS).

The ve­hi­cle will go into pro­duc­tion in Saar­louis, Ger­many late this year be­fore be­com­ing the first Ford RS model sold glob­ally.

The pre­vi­ous Fo­cus RS (sold in small num­bers here in 2010) was a front-wheel-drive three­door with a tur­bocharged 2.5litre five-cylin­der en­gine shared with Volvo.

Ford Australia im­ported just 315 ex­am­ples in Septem­ber 2010, af­ter Ire­land gave up its re­main­ing al­lo­ca­tion of cars due to ex­cess sup­ply and weak­ened de­mand in the wake of the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis.

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