Ford's hardcore hatchback simply can't meet strict emissions regulations.
We're about to witness a new era of hot hatchbacks. Now that the new Volkswagen Golf has been revealed, the next-generation Golf R is just around the corner. Likewise, the all-new Ford Focus that debuted in 2018 was expected to spawn a new version of the Focus RS, which is one of the most fabled hot hatchbacks on the market. Sadly, the new fourth-generation Focus RS might already dead.
Sources from Ford have told French magazine Caradisiac that the new Focus RS has been axed because it simply won't meet strict emissions restrictions in Europe. Under new emissions laws, fleet CO2 emissions need to be down by 95 grams per kilometer by 2021 in Europe.
The fate of the new Focus RS was already in doubt last month as Ford has been trying to find a solution to make the powertrain pass emissions regulations. Ford was considering utilizing its hybrid 2.5-liter inline-four engine developed for the new Escape with a turbocharger to boost the output to 400 horsepower, but the report claims this is no longer a viable option as it would be too expensive to engineer, especially as Ford is cutting costs in Europe.
If a new Focus RS is no longer happening, the new Focus ST will be the most powerful version of the current-generation Focus. Power is provided by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that produces 276 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful Focus ST yet. That's enough grunt to send the Focus ST sprinting from 0-62 mph in under six seconds.
We're sad to see the new Focus RS get killed off before the project got off the ground, as this will be the first time a Ford Focus hasn't been given the RS treatment in the model's history.
However, even if it was given the green light for production there's zero chance it would have been sold in the US since the new Focus ST is also forbidden fruit in America. As demand for SUVs and crossovers continues to soar, hot hatchbacks have become increasingly rare in the US. The mad Mercedes-AMG A45 hot hatch also won't be coming to America but at least we can still look forward to the upcoming 2021 Volkswagen Golf R.