- The Focus RS is now arriving at dealerships across the U.S. at a starting price of $36,605, including destination and delivery
- Specially-designed 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine produces 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, plus a maximum speed of 165 miles per hour
- The Focus RS comes packed with four different drive modes – including the first-ever Drift mode – as well as the ability to restart a stalled engine without manual operation
The wait is finally over. The highly coveted, all-new Ford Focus RS is now arriving at dealerships across the U.S. and for Jackson Gilmore – the first customer to take delivery of his RS – news of the car’s arrival was so big he ditched work to get behind the wheel.
“Learning that [my Focus RS] was going to be on one of the first boats to the West Coast, it became real,” he said. “Out of the blue my dealership called me and they said ‘Hey, your RS is here, so I sent an email to my boss that said, ‘Hey, I ordered this car eight months ago, I’m taking a half day today,’ and I just kind of walked out of work. I just bounced right then.”
Gilmore might have been the first in the U.S. to slide into the driver’s seat as the owner of the new high-performance hatchback, but the Focus RS was no impulse buy. As soon as Focus RS rumors began swirling, Gilmore held off on purchasing a new car.
“Then they said they were going to make it, it’s going to be all-wheel drive, 300-plus horsepower, they’re going to bring it to the States – and I told my girlfriend, you know, that’s the car,” he said. “I’m going to buy that.”
He has good reason to be excited. Powered by a specially engineered version of Ford’s new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, the new hot hatch pumps out a monstrous 350 horsepower, 350 pound-feet of torque achieved with 93-octane fuel and features a bevy of tricks up its sleeves in order to offer a premium driving experience, including four different drive modes.
It’s also the fastest production Focus currently available in the world, dashing from 0-62 miles per hour in just 4.7 seconds and topping out at a maximum speed of 165 mph.
The impressive engine output comes courtesy of an all-new, low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with a larger compressor wheel that delivers more airflow and power throughout the rev range. Despite the engine’s high output of 152 horsepower per liter, RS engineers tuned this EcoBoost to deliver right off idle all the way on up to a free-spinning 6,800 rpm.
“You start it up, it’s got a little bit of a growl to it, it rumbles,” Gilmore said. “You kind of know you’re in something serious.”
Designed by a small team of Ford Performance engineers in Europe and the United States, the manual-only Focus RS comes packed with innovation such as Ford Performance all-wheel drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring for a new level of handling, grip and cornering speed.
“It’s definitely quick. It’s got power, but the biggest thing I noticed is the handling,” Gilmore said. “I think it’s glued to the road; it’s super tight … so as soon as you move the wheel it just points in and hugs the turn. It’s awesome, honestly.”
For the first time, the RS model gets four selectable drive modes: Normal, Sport, Track and the industry-first Drift mode that allows drivers to perform controlled oversteer drifts. Each mode configures the hatchback’s all-wheel-drive system, damper controls, electronic stability controls, steering and engine responses in order to deliver optimal performance based on what drivers need.
That performance extends to brutal winder conditions, too. The Focus RS is the first car in North America to offer a winter tire and wheel option as a factory accessory, featuring Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tires, pressure monitoring sensors and fully mounted center caps, all of which were tested in the extreme cold and snow of Northern Michigan and Sweden.
Even in the event of an engine stall, the Focus RS comes prepared with a handy trick called stall recovery. There will be no need for drivers to manually restart the engine or move the gear selector to neutral, as the innovative technology allows the driver to simply push the clutch back in after a stall and the engine will restart.
Like its siblings, the Focus RS also comes equipped with plenty of cargo space, making it perfectly capable of adapting to the needs of most any driver.
“I actually play ice hockey and, you know, I drive it every day and I can throw my hockey gear in there, the hockey sticks, and throw everyone in – I live right next to the beach,” Gilmore said. “Having that performance with all the room” is great, he added, “but I also like the way it looks.”
The Focus RS starts at $36,605 in the U.S., including destination and delivery.
The third-generation Focus RS follows on the heels of the much-loved models launched in 2002 and 2009. The 2016 Focus RS is the 30th car globally to wear the vaunted RS badge, joining such legendary models as the 1970 Escort RS1600, the 1984 mid-engine RS200 Group B rally car, 1985 Sierra RS Cosworth and 1992 Escort RS Cosworth.