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Ford readies new Focus RS


Hypo-hatch poised to get Mustang power.
 
Hot hatch fans have never had it so good, with more choice and more power at their disposal than ever before -- and the battle is about to heat up even more.
 
As our roads become more congested and parking spaces harder to find, more and more car buyers are downsizing without wanting to sacrifice life's luxuries, or a responsive right foot.
 
While Mercedes-Benz set a new benchmark last year with an epic 265kW of power from its 2.0-litre turbo A45 AMG hatch, and Volkswagen says it is working on a 400 horsepower (or 300kW) version of the Golf R, Ford is getting in on the action with a successor to the iconic Focus RS.
 
Based on the hugely successful Focus ST (a facelift of which is due in Australia early next year, with sleeker lights and a revised dashboard layout), thinly disguised prototype versions of the even hotter Focus RS have been spotted testing in Europe and North America.
 
Ford has so far refused to confirm that a next generation Focus RS even exists, but leaks from well placed sources have pieced together the puzzle.
 
According to reputable overseas reports the new Focus RS will be powered by a 2.3-litre turbo four-cylinder engine that will also be used in the new Mustang. The difference, however, is that the engine in the Focus RS will power the front wheels, not the rear, as in the Mustang.
 
Getting all that power to the road will be somewhat of a challenge, which is why Ford is reportedly developing a limited slip front differential for its new hot hatch hero.
 
Race-bred Brembo brakes have also been fitted to the new Focus RS, if the spy photos are a guide.
 
The previous Focus RS -- sold in small numbers in Australia in 2010 -- was powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder engine shared with Volvo.
 
But even though the new Focus RS has switched back to a four-cylinder turbo, it is understood to have more grunt, with overseas reports claiming an output of 250kW of power and close to 450Nm of torque (up from 224kW and 440Nm from the previous model).
 
Ford Australia imported just 315 examples of the previous generation three-door Focus RS in September 2010, after Ireland gave up its remaining allocation of cars due to excess supply and weakened demand in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis.
 
Despite costing $60,000, all 315 examples were snapped up within months.
 
The next generation Focus RS, set to be a five-door only, is yet to be confirmed for Australia but it is highly likely the model will make it Down Under given the company's global "One Ford" policy.
 
It will likely arrive some time late in 2015, as Ford typically introduces the RS version towards the end of the Focus' model life.
 
Don't rush to a Ford dealer anytime soon to place an order, however. Carsguide understands even Ford dealers are yet to be told that the Focus RS is coming.
 
The last time the Focus RS arrived, Ford Australia dealers were only given two months notice that the hypo hatch was coming.

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