We were last given a glimpse of the 'in-development' Focus RS when Ford released a teaser image of the super-hatches front end early this year. Well, the kind folks in Ford Europe?s marketing department have provided us with some more official images, this time in the form of some in-house spy photos to help ease our pain as we wait on the disrobing of the production version at this years London Motor Show in late July.
Snapped at the Nurburgring, the images depict an early build prototype sporting pumped wheel arches, bonnet venting and a massive intercooler, racking up the track miles as it undergoes performance and durability testing ahead of its launch in 2009.
The principal architect of the Focus RS project is Ford of Europe?s Vehicle Line Director for Performance Vehicles, Jost Capito, whose Team RS development group were responsible for the first generation Focus RS in 2002, and more recently, the Fiesta ST and the new Focus ST.
?The new Focus RS is as much a car for driving enthusiasts as the one before it and classic Ford RS models of the past. We?re staying true to the core RS principles of a no-compromise, affordable high performance road car you can live with. The new Focus RS will have the muscles, heart and soul of a genuine RS and will be exciting to drive every day,? said Capito.
Under the bonnet the all-new Focus RS features a specially developed, turbocharged version of the Duratec 2.5-litre engine, based on the one found in the Focus ST. The RS version has been significantly revised to generate over 206kW/280PS and more than 400Nm of torque. As we have previously reported, these significant outputs will be channeled through the front wheels and not the AWD system that many where hoping for.
Various chassis innovations, developed in conjunction with Ford's Advanced Engineering Centre in Aachen are being tuned for the new car by the Cologne-based Ford Team RS. Their overriding objective is to achieve optimized driving dynamics and on road performance through an advanced technology front-wheel drive system, combined with a limited-slip differential.
"In early prototypes based on Focus ST vehicles, the new system is more than meeting our targets for exceptional levels of traction, handling and steering. Given that the enthusiastic team behind the car are all performance vehicle enthusiasts, you can imagine that our standards are high,"said Capito.
The new Focus RS test and development program is now well underway and will continue for several months, prior to the vehicle being readied for production in early 2009. In the meantime Ford have kindly promised that further technical details will be made known, closer to the launch date.