The Ford Mustang is being shipped to Europe for the first time this year, and the Old Country is returning the favor.
The latest addition to the growing lineup of the Ford Performance division is the third generation of the Focus RS, which will be sold stateside for the first time, where it will compete against the likes of the Subaru WRX STI and Volkswagen Golf R.
A step up from the already-quick Focus ST, the German-made Focus RS gets an even more potent version of the Mustang’s 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Ford promising that its larger turbo and intercooler will deliver at least 315 hp.
To make use of it, the Focus RS features an all-wheel-drive system with a rear drive unit that uses a pair of clutch packs to send up to 70 percent of the available drive torque to the outside rear wheel. This helps the car change direction more quickly and get around curves with a lateral acceleration of more than 1.0 g, according to Ford. That was supercar-level performance not long ago.
Those wheels are 19-inchers wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, with nearly-slick Super Sport Cup 2s on the options list, and connected to a suspension that has two-stage electronically adjustable dampers.
You have no choice of transmissions, however, a six-speed manual transmission is the only one available. It comes matched with alloy pedals, a racy flat-bottom steering wheel, and deep Recaro buckets with blue stitching, a signature of the RS. Aggressive bodywork front and rear give the car a mean, Ford Performance family look and help keep it planted to the road.
The Focus RS goes on sale in the USA sometime in 2016. Pricing has not been announced, but should fall in the mid-$30,000 range.