Now, thanks to an online configurator that was leaked while still under construction, the starting price for the Focus RS was posted as $35,730. A full list of available options was not listed, but among those displayed, a sunroof, navigation, 19-inch forged alloy wheels, and Michelin Cup tires (the latter costing $1,990) were open check boxes that brought the price up to $42,275 fully-loaded.
This price listing bears comparison to two of the 2016 Ford Focus RS’s biggest competitors. The 305 horsepower 2015 Subaru WRX STI starts at $35,290, and the 292 HP Volkswagen Golf R checks in at $37,415. Slotting between the two, the Focus RS goes to bat with a 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder making 345 HP and maximum torque of 347 pound-feet, more output than either rival. The Focus RS also uses a sophisticated, torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system like its German and Japanese competition.
Still on the horizon is Volkswagen’s Golf R400 with up to 420 HP, but when the 2016 Focus RS goes on sale next year, it will be the highest performance hatchback available on U.S. soil.
Ford’s ultra hatch will come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. Compared to the 2.3-liter Ecoboost turbocharged four-cylinder in the Mustang, the Focus RS gains a larger turbo compressor, a larger intercooler, a freer-flowing intake, and a bigger-diameter performance exhaust system with an active valve in the tailpipe. The header features a different aluminum alloy that’s better-suited to higher temperatures, the cylinders have stronger cast-iron liners, and the radiator is larger.
While flair will obviously be important to buyers of the 2016 Focus RS (how many cars can you name with a ‘Drift Mode’?), the advanced engineering should deliver one of the best driving cars of 2016.
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