Not many Americans have heard of this, but the Ford Focus is one hot hatch. Unfortunately, that's only the case in Europe. The outgoing generation of the European Focus was undoubtedly a much better car than what was sold in the US and Ford of Europe turned it into an amazing street machine that put it on par with the Volkswagen GTI. Now, before people get angry, there's a chance the new 2012 Ford Focus will also get the high performance update.
Still not convinced that a Ford Focus can be a formidable challenge to the legendary GTI or the MazdaSpeed3? Then allow me to divulge a few facts. The RS has a 3.5 horsepower Duratec 2.5 liter five-cylinder engine that rockets its occupants from zero to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds (which is a conservative number) and is mated to a six-speed manual. Now try this: it has a top speed of 164 mph and gets a combined 30.1 mpg. Hard to believe that Ford has built this hot two-door hatch for Europe all the while Americans were stuck with the previous generation Focus re-skinned to look updated.
American auto publications such as Motor Trend have reported on the RS, but now that there's a new Focus just months away, it's time pressure Ford to not only built a new generation RS, but to also sell it in the US. Still not convinced this thing could become a huge success in the US? It comes equipped with a race-style Recaro bucket seat, bi-xenon headlights, starter button, dual electronic temperature control, and a MP3/USB connector. There are few cars currently in production that provide so much performance and bang for the buck. The Volkswagen Golf GTI, obviously, comes to mind.
The MazdaSpeed3 , Honda Civic Si, Subaru WRX STi, and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo have been around for quite some time, but Ford has totally missed out on this segment in the US. And unlike some of those listed above, the Focus RS could also be priced more reasonably. The WRX STi, for example, carries a base price of around $35,000. The GTI, for comparison, comes in at $10k less than that. Chances are that Ford will continue to position a new RS as a direct competitor to the GTI. That makes sense considering the Subaru is all-wheel drive and has rally racing roots.
And now that Ford has proven itself capable of building wonderful new engines, I'd love it (and I'm not alone on this) if the new EcoBoost 3.5 liter V6 found its way into the RS. Combine that with a six-speed manual or even Ford's new dual-clutch and we'd be all set. Whether or not Ford decides to offer the RS in either 3 or 5-door variants is almost irrelevant. Just approve it for the US! Ford has already adapted its "kinetic design" as its world car theme, now they need to spread that performance to our part of the globe.