Although the Ford Focus RS (based on the existing Focus) only landed in Australia last week, the new generation of XR5 turbos are expected to make their way to the Australian market by 2012.
No longer powered by the five-cylinder 2.5-litre unit borrowed from Volvo, the new Ford Focus ST makes do with a smaller 2.0-litre 184kW version of Ford's new EcoBoost four-cylinder petrol engine. Despite now only having four-cylinders, we suspect the XR5 nameplate may still live on in Australia, given that the XR4 name is already reserved for the new Fiesta ST.
Although half a litre smaller in capacity than before, the new 2.0-litre Ford EcoBoost engine undergoes serious modifications to make it worthy of an XR (or ST) badge. Unique intake and exhaust systems plus Ford's specific engine calibration for the XR5 sees power and torque increased by over 10 percent over the previous model.
With 184kW to keep you going, the new Focus XR5 manages to pull itself ahead with 360Nm of torque. 0-100km/h times are not officially disclosed yet, however we do know that despite the increase in power and torque, the new XR5 will use an estimated 20% less fuel.
Ford will offer the new XR5 with a 6-speed manual gearbox designed for spirited driving, as standard.
The XR5 is the love-child of Ford's Team RS (Europe) and SVT (USA) engineers. The two groups have been responsible for such classics as the Focus RS, Mustang Shelby GT500 and F-150 SVT Raptor.
Although it shares the basic underpinnings as a standard Focus, the XR5 is lowered by 10mm and makes use of a substantially different variable ratio steering system.
On top of that sporty suspension makes cornering an easier task whilst high performance brakes allow for rapid deceleration.
From the outside the 2012 Ford Focus XR5 is distinguished by its more aggressive looks. From the front the twin upper and lower grilles of the standard Focus have been replaced by a one-piece design which sits higher on the nose of the vehicle.
Meanwhile the front spoiler also gets a new look. Ford says the spoiler blades linking to the rest of the body lines through the grille structure are inspired by a similar treatment in the current Focus RS model. The XR5 sits on huge 19-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels.
From the back there is more sporty DNA. The rear lamps make do with a dark smoked tint whilst the exhaust shines through a central dual-pipe outlet. Ford says the sound of the new XR5 was a big factor in its development, meaning the new one will undoubtedly sound very good.
Moving inside, the Focus XR5 gets Recaro sport seats as well three gauges for turbo boost, oil pressure and oil temperature. Ford has also chosen "Tangerine Scream" as its hero colour for the XR5, paying homage to the previous generations "electric orange" colour scheme.
Would you consider a new Ford Focus XR5? Should Ford Australia keep the XR5 nameplate despite the car now only having four-cylinders?