The 4.7-second blast bests the 0-60 times from lower-powered competitors like the Subaru WRX STI (5.1 seconds) and the Volkswagen Golf R (4.9 seconds). A few high-horsepower Europeans could outrun it, though, including the newly upgraded 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG (4.1 seconds) and Audi RS3 (4.3 seconds to 62 mph).
A combination of launch control, all-wheel drive, and torque vectoring at the rear axle might make that quick acceleration consistently achievable, too. Drivers just select the option from a menu, put the hot hatch into first gear, floor the gas pedal, and let off the clutch. The car rockets away, and a shift light on the instrument cluster illuminates at 5,900 rpm. It starts blinking at the 6,800 rpm redline.
We just need to get through the winter to see which car wins in a real-world drag race. The Focus RS is being built in Saarlouis, Germany, and the first North American deliveries are expected in the spring of 2016. Ford isn't talking options yet, but the previous leak suggests things like navigation, leather seats, a sunroof, and 19-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires will be available.
All-new 2016 Ford Focus RS sprints from 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 165 mph
Fastest-ever Ford RS model will start at $36,605 featuring Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive and a projected 350 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque from its 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine
Innovative Focus RS offers drive modes – including industry-first drift mode – along with launch control; customer deliveries of high-performance hatchback start in North America in spring 2016
DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 16, 2015 – Ford Motor Company's all-new Focus RS will sprint from 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds – making the high-performance hatchback the fastest-accelerating RS model yet.
Focus RS – powered by a specially engineered version of Ford's new 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine producing projected 350 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque – will reach a top speed of 165 mph.
For North America, Focus RS pricing will start at $36,605.
The all-new 2016 Focus RS optimizes acceleration by introducing launch control technology to a Ford RS model for the first time. Focus RS also debuts new Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring – for outstanding traction and grip with dynamic agility and cornering speed.
"The all-new Focus RS will bring the legendary nameplate to a new generation of global customers for the first time," said Dave Pericak, director, Ford Performance. "Focus RS delivers stunning performance and innovative technology at a price that will make both enthusiast consumers and premium automakers look twice."
Focus RS launch control configures the car's chassis and powertrain systems to deliver the fastest possible acceleration – in various track conditions. The driver selects launch control from the cluster menu, engages first gear, applies full throttle and releases the clutch. The system then delivers optimum drive – including distributing torque through the all-wheel-drive system, maintaining maximum torque using the turbo overboost function, managing traction control and setting the dampers.
To achieve maximum acceleration through the gears, a performance shift light in the instrument cluster alerts the driver when approaching the optimum upshift point of 5,900 rpm, and flashes if the engine hits the 6,800-rpm limit.
Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive uses twin electronically controlled clutch packs to manage the car's front/rear torque split, and can control side-to-side torque distribution on the rear axle – delivering the torque vectoring capability that produces a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability.
The all-wheel-drive system monitors inputs from multiple vehicle sensors 100 times per second. To deliver optimum driving dynamics, the system was calibrated alongside the car's advanced electronic stability control, in particular, its brake-based Torque Vectoring Control that works in parallel with torque vectoring all-wheel drive.
Focus RS drivers can select from four different drive modes that configure the all-wheel-drive system, damper controls, electronic stability control, steering and engine responses, and exhaust sound to deliver optimum performance in road or circuit driving conditions. Normal, sport or track settings are available, along with a special drift mode to help the driver achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track.
The new 2.3-liter EcoBoost shares its fundamental structure with the all-aluminum four-cylinder EcoBoost in the all-new Ford Mustang. The engine is significantly upgraded to improve power by more than 10 percent. It features a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with larger compressor, enhanced air intake design, and a large-bore high-performance exhaust.
Developed by a team of Ford Performance engineers in Europe and the United States, the all-new Focus RS is the third-generation Focus RS – following models launched in 2002 and 2009.
Ford Performance serves as an innovation laboratory and test bed to create unique performance vehicles, parts, accessories and experiences for customers. The group's work in aerodynamics, light-weighting, electronics, powertrain performance and fuel efficiency can be applied more broadly across Ford's product portfolio.
The 30th car to wear the legendary RS badge, Focus RS will be built in Saarlouis, Germany, and is one of 12 new performance vehicles Ford will bring to customers globally through 2020 as part of a new era of Ford performance. Ford expects delivery to North American customers in spring 2016.