The front-wheel drive, Ecoboost-powered Focus has been one of the hottest hatches in Europe for years, and finally it looks to be coming stateside in 2016.
This is great news because there were serious doubts this car would ever land on American shores, or even be built at all.
One concern was the American manufacturer’s ‘One Ford’ policy, which unites the brand by requiring every Ford model to be sold globally. A 330-hp hatchback simply isn’t marketable everywhere, so the European special was thought be on the chopping block.
On top of that, because of its emphasis on performance, there were suspicions that a high-horsepower Focus could cut into Mustang sales. According to an Autocar report, however, Ford has concluded otherwise.
Ford Europe’s Vice President, Barb Samardzich, believes that buyers of the Focus ST, Focus RS, and Mustang models are all different types of buyers. We do, too.
Focus ST owners are looking for a practical, yet fun hatchback that can get their pulse pounding when they want it to, but RS buyers are more extreme, with a 78-hp advantage and a less luxurious ride. Mustang owners are a different breed entirely, whether they buy the surprisingly responsive 300-hp V6 or the tire-shredding 435-hp V8.
Furthermore, the Focus RS has been spotted testing near Ford’s engineering headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
Unlike the previous Focus RS, which housed a 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder under its hood, the new hatchback will have the same 2.3-liter Ecoboost four as the new Mustang. Because it won’t require a custom engine, the hottest Focus can be built alongside standard models, cutting costs and facilitating entry into new markets like North America.
Ford’s crafty RevoKnuckle suspension will cut torque steer and reduce weight, while an electronic differential will ensure that all 330 ponies transfer to the road, wherever it may lie.