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The big daddy of hot hatches has been officially unveiled, as Ford launched the brand new Focus RS at its base in Cologne, the birthplace of the RS moniker.
Pictures of the new Focus RS were leaked early on Tuesday morning, but the event in Germany showed us the true nature of the hot hatch, as well as a few more details than those we were already anticipating.
It was widely thought that the new Mustang’s 2.3-litre EcoBoost unit would be utilised by the new Focus RS and was confirmed by Ford, with an output of “over 316bhp”. Meanwhile, it was still up in air whether the car would be front or all-wheel-drive, with Ford going for the latter in the end through a high-tech system.
Ford say that the All-Wheel-Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring system will bring “class-leading corner speeds” and is controlled through a sophisticated layout underneath the new Focus RS. Two electronically controlled clutch packs, situated on each side of the Rear Drive Unit, work in a similar manner to a limited slip differential and distributes power continuously between the front and back wheels and either side of the car.
Ford says that by using this system, up to 100 per cent of the available torque can be sent to either wheel and that it will “virtually eliminate understeer”.
That 2.3-litre engine has been given some additional features to make it unique to the Mustang’s version. Ford has given it a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with a larger compressor to aid airflow; meanwhile, a larger intercooler and air intake boosts up the RS’s potential.
A six-speed gearbox will transmit the car’s massive amount of power to each wheel and has been tuned to give faster shifts and more accurate changes. While RevoKnuckle sorted out the previous Focus RS’s excessive torque through just the front wheels, the new model’s transmission has been uprated in order to deal with an amount more than that of the Mustang’s 320b ft to each corner.
The new Focus RS also gets a retuned chassis though stiffer spring rates, bushes and anti-roll bars, as well as selectable dampening modes. Like most modern cars, the RS gets electric power steering, but Ford insists the extreme Focus will have “connected and responsive steering with outstanding feel”.
Gymkhana and Rallycross star Ken Block was revealed as a consultant on the new Focus RS and gave the crowd in Cologne a great show of what the hot hatch is capable of.
As the numerous spy shots have been fed through various outlets, those present during the new Focus RS’s testing at the Nurburgring all made note of the car’s distinctly visceral exhaust note, and Ford has made a big deal about mentioning that the RS will indeed burble and crackle like the cars of its heritage did.
The styling is obviously the most extreme we’ve seen the current Focus, but we’d of preferred more pronounced wheel arches; however, like the Fiesta ST, most of the production budget went into ensuring the driving experience was the best possible. A distinguishable rear wing and 19-inch multi-spoke alloys might more than suffice.
Those taking the Focus RS out on track will be able to get a set of semi-slick tyres for the car, while all will come with Michelin Pilot Super Sports as standard. The cabin, meanwhile, will be simplified compared to that of the regular Focus but will still have an eight-inch touchscreen interface and Ford Sync2 connectivity, as well as Recaro sports seats.
There’s no acid green this time around, but four colours including Nitrous Blue, Stealth Blue, Absolute Black and Frozen White will be available. The blue seen in these press shots is for the show car only for the time being.
We’ll be seeing the new Ford Focus RS at next month’s Geneva motor show, while the car will officially go on sale mid-2016 at a price of around £30,000.