The Focus RS is a performance legend in Europe. Will it come to the US?

Ford Focus ST sideFord has already confirmed that it is building a sporty version of the Focus hatchback, called the ST (pictured), but engineers in England are brewing something much stronger. A member of Team RS, Ford’s British performance division, told Top Gear that the team is working on a more powerful version, called, appropriately, the RS.

The car has not been officially green-lighted, but that hasn’t stopped Team RS from laying out the specifications. They are demanding at least 320 horsepower, according to Top Gear, compared to the ST’s 247 hp. The engine producing that power will be a 2.3-liter inline-four, with turbocharging and direct-injection. Ford chose this unit for its fuel economy as much as its power potential.

The 2.3 is intended for the Mustang, possibly to coincide with a 2015 refresh. It will have to be modified for transverse mounting and front-wheel drive. The Focus RS’ 320 hp rating would put it in competition with the Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Volkswagen Golf R, all of which have four-wheel drive. Nonetheless, Ford will stick with front-wheel drive to save weight and keep costs down, according to Ford Global Performance Vehicle boss Jost Capito.

Front-wheel drive brings torque-steer, when a powerful engine tugs at a car’s front wheels under throttle, but Ford is prepared to deal with that. The first Focus RS, inspired by Ford’s World Rally Championship car, used an electronically-controlled differential to fix the problem. The second RS, powered by a 300 hp inline-five from Volvo, improved on the system. Ford also has a unique suspension setup, called RevoKnuckle, to improve handling.

The RS has quite a pedigree, but it has always been forbidden fruit for American enthusiasts; neither version was available in the United States. Thanks to One Ford, the current American Focus is identical to the European version, and the new RS would use an engine from Ford’s US stable. If the new Focus RS gets the greenlight, it has a better chance than either of the previous models of coming to America.

Before that happens, Ford needs to actually make the car. Does the world need more than one sporty Focus? The second (Europe-only) generation supported ST and RS versions; there was even a limited-edition RS500. It is reasonable to think Ford could structure the the current Focus lineup the same way. Subaru has done the same thing for years, with the hot WRX and the hotter WRX STI.

If a business case can be made, Ford may get a hot hatchback that can take on the best from Japan and Germany.

Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is the pinnacle of luxury SUVs, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.