Sure, we have the brawny Ford Focus ST. We have its little brother, the Fiesta ST, a 10Best-winning machine so nimble that it makes Ben Vereen look like Lurch. But what Ford hatchback enthusiasts have been demanding for years is an honest-to-Hank RS model. It was posited for some time that the ST might be as quick-tempered as the current generation of Focus would get, but recent spy photos put that notion to rest for good.
The lingering rumors that the Mustang EcoBoost’s 2.3-liter turbocharged four-banger would be adapted for transverse duty have also turned out to be true. The U.K.’s Autocar has dug up some further info on the upcoming Focus RS, and it suggests that the 2.3 as installed there will produce 330 horsepower, a healthy increase over the last RS’s 301 and the 2015 Mustang’s 310.
It’s also more juice than the Volkswagen Golf R and the Subaru WRX STI. We had speculated that, like the VW and the Subaru, the new RS would feature all-wheel drive, but that appears to be off the table. Such a driveline was apparently on the table for a while, but Ford has decided instead to slap a limited-slip between the front half-shafts and call it good. It’s also being suggested that the new car will see a 20-percent improvement in fuel economy over the old RS.
Part of the reason a current-generation RS might’ve been scrapped was precisely the reason that it now may make it to the United States: Alan Mulally’s One Ford program, which focused on projects with global appeal. Ford saw a volume case for selling the ST in multiple markets, but it didn’t necessarily see one for the RS. Now that it has seemingly changed its tune, development work is happening on both sides of the Atlantic in preparation for a launch that could be two years out. This means that if we do finally get an RS model of our very own, it may not be before the 2017 model year. It also likely means a short one- or two-year run for the RS before the next-gen Focus arrives. But whatever—we just want the car to hurry up and get here.