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by Tim Beissmann

The Ford Focus RS will make its long-awaited return, likely in 2016, as one of 12 new performance models from the blue oval brand planned to launch between now and 2020.

Ford confirmed the Focus RS would be developed under its new global Ford Performance team, which unifies the existing Ford SVT, Team RS and Ford Racing divisions around the world.

The all-new Ford Focus RS will be available to customers in major markets around the world for the first time, including the US and almost certainly Australia. CarAdvice has contacted Ford Australia about its interest in the new model, and will update the story when news comes to hand.

The previous-generation Focus RS cost $59,990 before on-road costs in Australia and was sold in very limited numbers, with only about 300 making it to our shores.

Ford Focus RS 5

Ford hasn’t revealed any details about the new Focus RS, though Ford global product development group vice president Raj Nair confirmed it would build on a pedigree of driving excellence that dated back to the first Ford RS in 1968.

“To earn the RS badge, the vehicle has to be a no-compromise driver’s car that can deliver exceptional performance on the track when required while providing excellent everyday driving,” Nair said.

CarAdvice’s spy photographers have snapped new Focus RS prototypes at various stages of development, including most recently when a black test car was spotted at the Nurburgring in Germany undergoing high-speed testing.

Unlike the original three-door hot-hatch, the new Focus RS will be a five-door, offering a still-lairy but more practical body to rival the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R, Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG and Audi S3.

Ford Focus RS 7

But unlike that all-paw German trio, Ford’s go-fast model is tipped to remain front-wheel drive, relying on a limited-slip differential and an upgraded version of the company’s torque-steer-fighting RevoKnuckle front suspension to get its power down.

Said power is understood to come from a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine borrowed from the Mustang. The Pony car’s motor will churn out 233kW and 432Nm, though Ford is rumoured to be dialling it up beyond 240kW for the new RS. The old RS’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder Volvo-sourced engine pumped out 224kW.

Development of the Focus RS and the other 11 promised sports cars will be conducted at racetracks around the world and draw on the expertise of Ford’s engineering centres globally.

The new Ford Performance division will be based at the company’s new technical centre in Charlotte, North Carolina. The facility will serve as an innovation laboratory and test bed to create unique performance vehicles, parts, accessories and experiences for customers. It will develop innovations and technologies in aerodynamics, light-weighting, electronics, powertrain performance and fuel efficiency for Ford’s sports cars and its wider product portfolio.




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