Friday, 4 July 2008 12:00 AM
Ford has announced that new Focus RS will go on sale in early 2009, with those eager to take a closer look being able to do so at the London International Motor Show on July 22nd.
The vehicle is being created by a small team of dedicated engineers, under the direction of Jost Capito, Ford of Europe's line director for performance vehicles.
The latest Ford RS will be the second model to carry the RS mantle.
"We want the new Focus RS to be a serious high performance car," enthused Mr Capito. "As much a car for driving enthusiasts as the one before it and classic Ford RS models of the past.
"We're staying true to the core RS principles of an exciting, yet affordable performance road car you can live with every day."
The vehicle is finished in a special bright green paint with inlaid metallic flake, a modern interpretation of the 1970s Le Mans Green of the Escort RS1600 era.
The vibrant exterior colour is contrasted with a number of performance styling details highlighted in gloss 'piano black', including the strip at the leading edge of the bonnet, the deep housings for the integrated front fog lamps and door mirrors with integrated side indicators.
Front and rear quarter panels have been revised to incorporate wider wheel arches and a larger track, complemented by revised, deeper side rocker mouldings.
The new front bumper design for Focus RS incorporates a deep front airdam with a large, mesh lower grille in an extended trapezoid. This feature represents Ford's 'kinetic design' face and is also finished in piano black.
Above, chromed xenon headlamps stand out and are framed by matt-black housings with additional vents running underneath.
At the rear, a deep new rear bumper incorporates a large venturi tunnel to its lower edge with small vents at each corner of the bumper. Two chromed exhaust tailpipes sit each side of the black venturi.
"We believe it's vitally important that a Focus RS looks like both a Focus and an RS," said Stefan Lamm, chief exterior designer at Ford of Europe.
"It needs to be individual, distinctive and overt in its performance styling, but it also needs to show a clear progression from and relationship to Focus ST."
Inside, the interior is dominated by bespoke, sculpted Recaro high-performance sports seats. Each is colour-matched to the exterior, with ebony leather accents and 'RS' and 'Recaro' logos stitched into each backrest.
The centre console is finished in a stylish gloss, carbon-look trim and metallic highlights abound, from air vents, door grab handles, switchgear and gearshift surround, to unique RS-branded scuff plates on the door sills.
The Focus RS features a specially developed, turbo-charged version of the Duratec 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine. Ford is targeting a power output of 300 PS and over 410Nm of torque with the new powerplant.
Although the car is still in development, prior to its launch in early 2009, early performance testing indicates a 0-100km/h (0-62mph) time of under six seconds.
"The Ford Focus is an excellent base for a high performance car - agile, responsive and stable," explained Mr Capito.
"We studied at length how best to enhance these qualities for a high performance model. Our work has shown clearly that our approach in combining a tuned RevoKnuckle with the Quaife differential is an ideal solution for a high performance front-wheel-drive road car like Focus RS.
"As you would expect, we gave all-wheel-drive careful consideration, but by combining and tuning these elements and learning from Ford's expertise in industry-leading handling, we have managed to eliminate the weight of AWD from the car and still have been able to target a class-leading balance of traction, handling and performance.
"The result is a lightweight set-up, that will deliver the right blend of traction and razor sharp controllability - in a way no one would have expected from front-wheel-drive, and we believe we have made the right choice," Mr Capito concluded.