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New Ford Focus RS revealed

Third-generation Ford Focus RS revealed with all-wheel drive and Ecoboost Mustang turbo engine.

Ford has taken the wraps off its new all-wheel drive turbo Focus RS hyper hatch, which is set to rival cars like the Mercedes A45 AMG, VW Golf R and upcoming Honda Civic Type R.

The new third-generation Focus RS marks a number of firsts for the fast Focus. It will be available globally for the first time and be mass produced, where its predecessors were built in limited numbers and sold mainly in Europe. It’s also the first RS to be a five door, but most importantly it’s the first time we’ve seen an all-wheel drive system fitted to a performance Focus. Previous generations were fitted with clever suspension setups and trick differentials to overcome the challenges presented by shoving a load of power through just the front wheels.

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The new all-paw system can send up to 70 per cent of the engine’s available torque to the rear wheels, and up to 100 per cent of that power can be distributed to either wheel. If that sounds confusing and a bit too mathematical, basically the rear axle has a proper torque vectoring diff and the Focus RS can perform controlled four-wheel drifts if you’re a bit handy behind the wheel.

Power comes from a 2.3-litre Ecoboost four-cylinder turbo engine – the same one fitted to the new Mustang – but a number of upgrades help it produce more power in this application. There’s a new twin-scroll turbocharger, enlarged intercooler, and a less restrictive intake and exhaust system. The exact power figures are still being finalized, but Ford has confirmed it’s significantly more than 316hp and probably closer to the 345hp output of the old limited edition RS500. A six-speed manual is the only transmission option, while the 0-62mph time is tipped to be in the four-five second range.

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In terms of styling, the new Focus RS is much angrier looking than the lesser ST version – like it would bight your head off if you looked at it wrong. Especially from the front, there’s no way you’d mistake it for being anything less than a very fast car as there’s all kinds of gaping grilles, splitters and you can see the engine’s massive front-mount intercooler through the mesh covering the lower air dam. The wheel arches are only slightly wider to accommodate the wider tyres (235/35R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sports or Pilot Sport Cup 2s if anyone’s interested), so it doesn’t quite have the wide-body appearance of its predecessors but it looks suitably aggressive for a fast Ford. At the rear the RS wears a massive rear wing that is apparently functional, helping to equalize the down force generated by the new front splitter. There’s also a tasty lower rear diffuser housing dual exhaust tips (no more centre-mounted hexagonal thing from the ST). And for an extra special touch there’s a F1-style fog light in the middle.

The new Ford Focus RS goes on sale later this year, and exact performance and engine details will be revealed at the Geneva motor show next month.

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