The 2016 Ford Focus RS will destroy winter with optional snow tires

Let the hooning begin.

The 2016 Ford Focus RS is sure to be a winter hoon, and now Ford is making its all-wheel-drive hot hatch even more capable in the snow.

Ford will sell a winter wheel and tire package as an option for $1,995 on the Focus RS. It includes 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tires wrapped around 18- by 7.5-inch wheels. The rollers are like the base RS wheels, but they're festooned in a sparkle silver, which is meant to hide salty sprays. Anyone who's ever lived in a Northern climate will appreciate a color that conceals the road residue.

The system also has tire-pressure-monitoring sensors and center caps, and everything is mounted and balanced. The setup is also designed for snow chains, if you really need to mush.

If you want this option, check the box and the dealer installs it before you take delivery. The Focus RS starts at $36,605, including destination charges. The winter tire pack is only offered in North America, and it's standard in Canada, because you know, it just snows so much there.

Ford says it developed a special set of procedures and standards to measure the winter rubber, and sent teams to Sweden and Northern Michigan (two of the coldest places on earth) for testing.

The Focus RS offers 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that can top out at 165 miles per hour. The car goes on sale this spring.

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Winter Be Damned, Focus RS Drivers Can Shred Snow with First-Ever Factory Winter Tire Package

· Focus RS will be first car in North America to offer a winter tire and wheel option as a factory accessory

· Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package includes Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tires, 18-inch silver-painted wheels, tire pressure monitoring sensors, and center caps all fully mounted and balanced

· Package is certified to Ford Performance standards; arrives at dealerships ready for installation

DEARBORN, Mich., – Customers of Ford's all-new all-wheel-drive 350-horsepower Focus RS will now be able to order a fully certified winter tire kit for great driving enjoyment in the snow.

The Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package offers customers a unique set of wheels and tires – the first time an original equipment manufacturer is making a check-the-box winter tire option available in North America.

"We started this project knowing what our RS customers really want out of their cars," says Adam Wirth, chassis supervisor, Ford Performance. "This tire package allows RS owners to continue spirited driving even in the snow."

Ford Performance developed this package so the most demanding Focus customers can be outfitted with optimum equipment for winter conditions. The challenge was that normal vehicle testing procedures require certification with production wheels and tires; winter-only standards had never been authored. To bring this package to owners, the first step Ford Performance had to undertake was creating a new set of standards specifically suited for brutal winter conditions.

These new standards were put to the test in extreme cold and snow in Northern Michigan and Sweden, to guarantee the quality and performance Ford customers expect. Engineers and technicians tested a wide variety of high-performance winter tire and wheel setups to determine the optimum combination for ride, handling and performance in various wintry conditions.

The winning setup is a 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tire mounted to a new 18x7.5-inch wheel, which looks very similar to the base Focus RS option, but is finished in sparkle silver to hide salt spray. The set is complete with tire pressure monitoring sensors and center caps fully mounted and balanced and ready for installation at the dealer.

The wheel and tire are narrower, to provide improved snow traction, while the overall diameter is smaller, so owners can fit chains if necessary.

"We fully expect our more extreme-weather customers to take advantage of the ability to use snow chains," Wirth says a smirk.

The Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive fitted to Focus RS will take full advantage of these new winter tires; "Settings are completely driver-preference", notes Wirth, "Customers are able to utilize all four drive modes to suit their driving style in winter conditions."

Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package is available only in North America – a $1,995 option. For customers in Canada, the package comes standard on Focus RS.

Ford Focus RS Information

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