Peak performance doesn’t often come cheap. Topping the list of the fastest cars in the world are models whose price tags generally start at around $130,000 and up.
Not every automaker thinks customers need to be princes or commute by private jet, though. Since its earliest days, Ford’s goal has been to democratize automotive technology and power.
Now, American and European Ford engineers have built a stunning performance vehicle at an impressive price point. The new Focus RS is the fastest yet, and sprints to 100 km/h in a blazing 4.7 seconds and tops out at 265 km/h. What’s more – it comes fully-loaded at a reasonable $48,669. (So fully-loaded in fact that it comes with a separate set of RS winter alloy wheels and performance winter tires, and only has one upgrade option – Nitrous Blue Quad Coat paint comes at a $995 premium.)
Heart of a racecar
We had our hearts and minds set on speed when designing the 2016 Focus RS. Sporting a state-of-the-art 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine and Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive, the RS hatchback chews up roadway with 350 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque.
What’s more, it is coming equipped with four drive modes that dial in different settings for the all-wheel-drive system, damper controls, electronic stability control, steering and engine responses and exhaust sound. The settings include normal, sport and track to deliver peak performance in different road or circuit driving conditions. A fourth mode—drift—reconfigures the car to help the driver achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track.
Brawn and brains
It is being built only with a six-speed standard transmission and something called launch control, which configures the car’s chassis and powertrain to deliver maximum acceleration from the starting line depending on road conditions. When the launch control is selected, the driver opens up full throttle, engages the clutch, and the system optimizes performance by delivering maximum torque to all the wheels. Intelligent torque delivery is also used to improve cornering and handling, keeping the car attached to the road no matter the complexity of the course.
“Focus RS delivers stunning performance and innovative technology at a price that will make both enthusiast consumers and premium automakers look twice,” said Dave Pericak, the director of Ford Performance.
Presented at a special event in Cologne, Germany where it was built, the Focus RS is part of a portfolio of new performance vehicles Ford will be offering globally through 2020.
The company expects the vehicle to flex its muscles soon. “Awesome cars always go racing,” Ford’s chief of global performance vehicle development Jamal Hameedi hinted to Car and Driver.