Ford reconnected this week in earnest with the 38 year history of its RS badge when the first production Focus RS rolled off the assembly line in Germany. The 300 horsepower front-drive hot hatch is being built at Ford's Saarlouis plant, alongside the rest of the European-spec Focus line-up, but with the performance bits (including a trick differential) installed by a dedicated team of technicians.
The Focus RS is the most extreme performance version of the company's staple hatchback, taking the Focus ST we drove in Belgium as its point of departure, and then dialing it up to 11. Unfortunately, while 20 European countries are slated to receive the Focus RS when it hits the market in April, it isn't slated to reach the American market; at least not in its current incarnation. But with Ford's new focus (sorry) on integrating its products globally – including the merger of the European (TeamRS) and American (SVT) performance engineering divisions – maybe, just maybe, we could see an RS version of the next Focus Stateside.