We may have to make due with the Focus ST here in the United States (note: we are not complaining), but an even hotter version – the Focus RS – has historically been quite a hit in Europe. And according to a report in Auto Express, the next-generation RS should be one hot little number when it launches in 2014.
Rather than simply turning the ST's 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four up to 11, Ford's European performance division – Team RS – will likely use a larger-displacement mill for development of the hotter-than-hot Focus. The most likely candidate is a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine – rumored to be shared with the 2015 Mustang – that will produce around 350 horsepower.
Ford will likely offer the Focus RS with a six-speed manual transmission, but engineers have not ruled out the possibility of using a version of the company's PowerShift dual-clutch 'box. The main concern from Team RS is that using a DCT will add weight, though the engineers understand that the trend in this segment is to use dual-clutch gearboxes.
Auto Express reports that the new Focus RS will retain its front-wheel-drive architecture, but Ford is already working on new technologies to reduce the sort of squirreliness that comes with sending that much power to a car's front wheels. An active limited-slip differential – an E-diff – would "really optimise traction in all situations," according to Team RS powertrain engineering manager Len Urwin.
It's unclear whether or not the Focus RS will come to the US, despite the company's One Ford global product strategy. When it launches in Europe, Auto Express expects the RS to retail for about 25,000 pounds – just shy of $40,000 based on current exchange rates.