Or will Ford take the Lotus route to up performance?
A few weeks ago Australian outlet Motoring reported that Ford was planning a hotter version of its already scorching Focus RS. Now our spy photographers have snapped these photos of a Focus RS speeding around the Nurburgring. Notice anything different? No? Look closer, specifically at the hood. Yes, those are air vents which may be used to help keep a bigger engine cool. However, this runs contrary to the Motoring report and has us confused as to what direction a Focus RS500 (possible name) could take.
The Aussies were saying that the Focus RS couldn't offer more power as there was no way to keep things cool. As such the speculation was that the new hatchback would shed weight via the addition of lightweight parts like carbon ceramic brakes and forged aluminum suspension pieces. A potential weight loss of 220 pounds was forecast. But these spy shots seem to indicate that there may be new plans for the turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. Could it possibly be tuned to create more power than its current 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque? It's possible but we don't think so. The Ford Focus RS has a curb weight of somewhere around 3,500 pounds, and if the engine is beefed up that number will rise as a result.
To us the key to a hotter and more fun Focus RS isn't to add power—and pounds by consequence—but to cut weight. Perhaps these shots have really just captured a carbon fiber hood being tested out and not actually an RS500 on the run? If there really is a hotter engine under the hood we think there would be new brakes on offer as well. The Focus RS in these photos doesn't appear to be sporting any new stopping power (or camo). While we'd love to see Ford up the horsepower of its hottest hatch we don't think that's going to happen. Our money is on a GT350R-esque stripping of weight. Check out these spy shots and let us know what you think in the comments.