Not only is it being built, but rumours flying around suggest the new Ford Focus RS (a car Ford has continuously shelved) will be an All-Wheel-Drive STi/Evo killer!
The RS will be powered by a worked version of the current 2.5-litre XR5 engine (sourced from Volvo), the engine will be coupled to a six-speed close-ration gearbox. Car Magazine reports the new RS will make its official appearance at the Geneva motor show, next to the facelifted Focus.
The pictures show engineers testing the new RS with electronic load-monitors, trying to re-engineer the focus from Front-Wheel-Drive to All-Wheel-Drive requires a great deal of work.
Being an All-Wheel-Drive the new Focus will go head to head with the traditional rally kings, the Subaru Impreza WRX STi and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, whilst the Evo X will have the option for a DSG gearbox, the Focus (as well as the new STi) will be keeping things simple with a six-speed manual.
Of course, you can't compete with the STi and Evo without some serious grunt, and grunt is aplenty for the new Focus RS. With a modified variable intake and exhaust manifold, a bigger turbocharger and intercooler as well as an oil cooler and reinforced con-rods, the new Focus RS will have around 220kWs of power, similar figures to the new STi and Evo X.
0-100km/hr times are just a tad over 5 seconds with a top speed of 260km/hr. We expect Ford to target the rally lovers with the Focus RS, meaning ride and comfort will be compromised compared to the XR5, not that a little compromise is a bad thing when its for supercar beating performance.
It would seem logical for Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) to bring the Focus RS to Australia - we asked Ford Australia about the RS over the weekend and we were told that any news on the RS is pure speculation at this stage.
We don't expect the new RS to land in Australia until late 2008 (if ever), but if and when it does it will be looking a lot better than the prototype in the photos, with the new facelift only months away. We are just happy, that maybe, the RS will one day make it to our shores.
Please Ford, can we have one?