Hot hatch all-rounder Ford Focus ST has severe competition on the way, from within its own ranks.
Despite stalling it as much as bureaucratically possible, Ford bigwigs have finally approved production of one of the blue ovals most notorious models, the Focus RS.
Turbo motor freed up, at last
Although details are sketchy, the RS will be based on the current Focus ST, and should see the 2.5-litre five-cylinder Volvo sourced motor finally being opened up to unleash much of its latent potential.
Competing with the likes of VW's Golf R32, Mitsubishi's EVO X and Subaru's Impreza STI, RS is expected to sport a minimum power output of 210kW and 400Nm.
Modification for the RS engine should closely replicate what most ST owners have done in their own quest for unlocking more power.
A revised engine management system, increased boost pressure, free-flow air filter and performance exhaust should ensure the requisite increase in performance and importantly for a car brandishing the RS moniker, acoustics too.
Rally heritage handling
With a lineage of exemplary RS handling to live up to, the latest Focus RS will have stiffened and lowered suspension and more powerful brakes.
The previous Focus RS had a trick Quaife automatic torque biasing differential to improve traction from the front-wheel drive setup. Currently it is unsure what manner of differential wizardry Ford will employ with the new RS to quell unruly handling behaviour, which could result from its rampant power and probable front-wheel drive configuration.
The RS will be developed by Ford Team RS, headed by Jost Capito, who previously oversaw development of the Focus World Rally Car, so dynamics are expected to be utterly sorted from the outset.
Factor in styling that will boast blistered arches, bonnet vents, all manner of wings and spoilers plus an interior featuring figure-hugging racing seats, and the Focus RS will have the visual impact to match its performance too.
The production Focus RS will go on sale in Autumn of 2009, after making breaking cover, officially, at one of the major auto shows during 2008.