The Ford Focus RS hasn’t even gone on sale yet, but it just keeps getting better. Ford originally said this hottest of hot hatchbacks would produce more than 315 horsepower, and then followed that up with claims of 345 hp and up to 346 pound-feet of torque.
Now, Ford is rounding both figures up, with a final official claim of 350 hp and 350 lb-ft from the 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. That makes for an impressive specific output of 152 hp per liter, courtesy of a turbo that can produce up to 23.2 psi of boost. Ford says peak torque will be available at a fairly usable 3,200 rpm, with peak power at 6,000 rpm, and a redline of 6,800 rpm.
Those figures put the Focus RS near the top of the sport compact power pyramid. The Ford easily overpowers its two most likely rivals, the Subaru WRX STI and Volkswagen Golf R. It also comes pretty close to the 355 hp of the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG’s 2.0-liter turbo four, but the Mercedes costs over $10,000 more.
Ford says this impressive output comes thanks to a few trick features, including a more responsive, low-inertia turbocharger, large intercooler, and low-restriction intake and exhaust systems. The latter features an electronically-controlled valve that optimizes back pressure and volume, according to the carmaker.
And while many cars include engine start-stop systems for fuel efficiency, or hill-hold systems for manual transmissions, Ford went a step further with the Focus RS. It will include a system that automatically restarts the engine in the event of a stall, helping the driver get underway again more quickly.
The monster engine and six-speed manual transmission will be backed by a sophisticated drivetrain. Ford’s Dynamic Torque Vectoring all-wheel drive system can apply power to individual wheels depending on where the most grip is, and monitors inputs from sensors 100 times per second. There are also four programmable driving modes: Normal, Sport, Track, and Drift.
The Ford Focus RS goes on sale in the U.S. early next year, and will be priced starting from $36,605 (including destination).
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