Will it or won’t it? That's the question regarding Ford’s next Focus super-hatchback that it has been selling in Europe since 2009: Will the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker bring the 2016 Ford Focus RS to America, and will a more powerful engine require all-wheel drive (AWD) in the next version of Ford’s muscular mini?
Road & Track seems to think so. Citing a Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) insider, the magazine says the 2016 Ford Focus RS is heading to the U.S. in “extremely limited numbers.” On top of that, the unnamed source says the next Focus super-hatch would get the AWD to cope with a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that’s under the hood of the current Lincoln MKC luxury crossover and the 2015 Ford Mustang where it churns out 310 horsepower (hp) and 320 foot-pounds of torque.
The 2009 Focus RS debuted with a Volvo-engineered turbo-charged inline five cylinder with 305 hp to the front wheels with a special strut suspension design known as RevoKnuckle (pdf) to deal with the torque steer phenomenon in which more powerful engines in light front wheel drive cars cause the steering wheel to pull to one side on acceleration.
Which is where AWD comes in.
A meatier Focus RS (which stands for Rallye Sport, named after the professional rally version of the car) would be better off sending power to all wheels rather than just the front ones. The Ford source said the horsepower numbers aren’t confirmed yet, but the 2016 Focus RS could have up to 350 horsepower, which would make AWD inevitable – and would make super hatch fans very happy.
Car & Driver, which called the 2009 Ford Focus RS “the world’s best hot hatchback,” reached out to its sources at Ford and elicited the following statement: “None of what is being reported is confirmed, including the part about the RS coming to America.” But the source also said everything all that’s been reported is doable on Ford’s global C-Platform used in all the company’s compact cars. In other words, Ford isn’t denying these reports.
The Focus RS competes with the Volkswagen Golf R and the Subaru WRX STI.