The RS badge has been proudly worn by some truly iconic Fast Fords, each a peoples champion capable of reminding the boss and his Porsche that there is no pecking order out of hours. It is a beautiful thing to see enthusiasts as excited about a hot hatchback as they are a new supercar. I think it has a lot to do with the working-class performance icon being attainable by the everyman. Anticipation has been building for the new 2016 Ford Focus RS that clearly aims to be king of the hatchback hill. This next generation RS not only has to compete with the competition, but also be worthy of the Rally Sport name. We were invited to a secret location for the unveiling of the finished MK3 Focus RS.
Surrounded by legends such as MK1 Escort RS rally cars, the GT supercar, and every RS of the past few decades, “whatever lurked beneath that dust sheet has some big shoes to fill” I thought to myself. A MK1, MK2 and RS500, Focus surrounded the cloaked silhouette ready for this automotive baptism. I attended the global unveiling of the 2016 Ford Focus RS in Germany at the beginning of the year and that was a real spectacle to behold. However, this was far more intimate but no less important.
The sheet was whipped off to reveal a Nitrous Blue (Inside Lane blue) example wearing contrasting black alloy wheels. From my initial three-quarter view the car looked purposeful. Muscular, athletic, powerful. Whilst not as in your face as previous generations, this is now a global car and so has to appeal to a wider audience, it was suitably sinister with its chiselled front bumper and large Brembo brakes. Panning around the car revealed its proud boot spoiler and polished dual exhausts.
Under the bonnet is a 2.3 litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine that produces 345BHP. Power is sent to all four wheels for maximum traction. 0-62MPH takes just 4.7 seconds and it will go onto a top speed of 165MPH.
The interior is dominated by two Recaro seats with man-eating bolsters. They are very snug, but also do a good job of not intruding upon rear leg room. After all, the purpose of a hot hatchback is that it is a car without compromise. Turbo gauges sit on top of the dashboard whilst Ford’s Sync touchscreen infotainment system illuminated the console. Flashes of blue stitching and RS badging can be found throughout the cabin.
After the scrum of journalist had subsided and I had loitered for a while longer, I was able to get a look a the 2016 Ford Focus RS under more natural lighting. Here the paintwork when from a deeper blue to a truly captivating shade. Obviously with the car in motion I also had a chance to hear that new engine rasp and pop when revved. Check out the video to hear it for yourself!
The 2016 Ford Focus RS promises a lot of performance for £22,995. Can it deliver? We hope to find out next year.