2015 FORD FOCUS RS
Images of what could be our first look at Ford’s new Focus RS have surfaced on enthusiast forum FocusST.org, but is this really the top new hero model?
These shadowy shots hint at a hot Focus of some sort, although the subject appears to be a painted clay model, suggesting it may only be an early design preview of one possible direction.
At both ends, we can see the updated 2015 Focus hatch’s redesigned lights, nothing unique there, once you get past the darkened and unfinished look of both units.
Look again at the face however, and that gaping grille, seen already on the Focus ST hatch, appears taller, wider and more defined than on the current production ST.
Likewise, the intakes below that whaleshark mouth have also been redesigned, and new dimples - possibly placeholders for extra intakes - have appeared either side of the Ford badge’s cavity atop the grille.
On their own, none of these changes necessarily signal the coming of a new Focus RS model. But look now to the rear.
There’s little detail to be seen in this closely cropped image, but it appears clear that a large new diffuser sits in the rear bumper.
This too could merely be an element of a redesigned Focus ST for 2014, but combined with that acid green paint job… yes, we reckon this is the Focus RS - and a five-door RS at that.
Reports as recently as this month have pointed to the coming of a new RS model, with the UK’s Autocar claiming insider advice on a “sometime in 2015” launch date.
This time, we can reportedly expect a new turbocharged engine, replacing the rorty five-cylinder mill that powered the previous RS.
Instead, a highly tuned 2.3 litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is expected. And, while the next Mustang is expected to get a rear-wheel-drive configuration with the same engine, the Focus RS will likely remain a front-wheel-drive package.
An all-wheel-drive setup is understood to have been under consideration - utilising an electric-drive system for the rear wheels - but Ford has reportedly written off the idea as a cost-saving move.
Instead, expect a next-generation version of the 'Revoknuckle' system from the last RS to help contain this new model's torque-steering urges.
Power and performance figures have not been revealed (of course), although earlier reports on the same engine suggest figures in the realm of 260kW.
With those numbers, the new RS' turbo heart would eclipse the 224kW of the previous model, and even besting the 257kW of the limited-edition RS 500 version.
As for body styles, Ford has maintained that only a five-door hatch is planned for the ongoing Focus hatch range, suggesting the new RS will move away from the three-door look.
[Thanks to TMR regular Matt Jelonek for the tip!]