Ford Performance is watching reaction to the new Focus RS closely before signing off an even quicker limited-run special.
Ford insiders have confirmed an even more hardcore version of the 257kW five-door is under consideration – and it has the potential to be the fastest-accelerating hatchback in history.
Ford’s options for bringing extra grip, performance and excitement to the new RS will be delivered mainly through weight saving and upgrading the RS’s drivetrain. This will be possible in a car with an asking price that could even eclipse the $80,000 of its rivals.
With a higher budget, there’s plenty of potential for improving the car’s power-to-weight ratio by adding lightness to a more expensive version.
However, the car’s 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine is already operating close to its maximum and attempts to conjure more power will be hampered by the lack of room for additional cooling capacity.
But if the potential is there to break the 4.0sec 0-100km/h barrier, expect Ford to seize it.
Ford could employ a new front bumper to address the current car’s lack of cooling capacity for additional power. Expect ever larger vents and radiators.
Expect an electronically controlled limited-slip differential for the front axle, tuned to work with the GKN-supplied rear drive unit. A front LSD is known to improve the RS’s handling and was considered for the standard car.
Polycarbonate glazing, carbonfibre-reinforced plastic bodywork, forged aluminium suspension componentry, carbonfibre brakes, less noise insulation and a stripped-out interior could take upwards of 100kg out of the car – even after the drivetrain additions under consideration have been grafted on.
The obvious option for a double-clutch automatic would be Ford’s Powershift transmission, supplied by Getrag, but it is currently rated for engines with peak torque of 450Nm, so it would need some modification.
The regular RS’s claim (4.7sec) would suggest there’s plenty to do to meet the RS3’s 4.3sec, but company insiders have confirmed that even the standard car is much closer to Germany’s big hitters when fitted with optional 19-inch forged wheels and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.