LA Auto Show: 2016 Ford Focus RS ready for launch

Appearing at the LA Auto Show was the new high-performance 2016 Ford Focus RS all-wheel-drive hot hatch that made its official North American debut earlier this year at New York. It’s ready for production and the showrooms next spring.

A car we in America have been watching European’s enjoy for years, the Ford Focus RS has been legendary there for its raw performance and above class handling capabilities. All the while here in America we were lucky to get a Focus ST.

Sometimes good things come to those who wait though, as the new global Ford Focus RS we get will sport 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. It’s 2.3 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, similar to that of the Mustang, will drive all four wheels through a close ratio six-speed manual transmission.

The extra horsepower over the Mustang is courtesy of a different low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with a larger compressor. And putting that power down will be a sophisticated all-wheel drive system offering multiple computer aided drive modes.

You can dial it up in four levels – normal, sport, track and drift. The industry-first drift mode can sent up to 70% of its power to the rear wheels so you can let it hang out ruthlessly, on the track only of course. And at the track, a launch control program lets you access the fastest possible acceleration times.

Suspension of course has stiffer springs, bushings and and anti-roll bars with dampers being adjustable through the mode controls. Stopping is handled by way of massive Brembo brakes and of course the calipers are blue.

Styling is as extroverted as its performance with an aggressively unique front-end. A deep lower opening allows for better inter-cooler flow and with the splitter contribute to better aerodynamics, if not for meaner looks.

That front fascia features brake cooling ducts for the Brembo brakes up front which are nicely framed with 19-inch black wheels wrapped with pricey but sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport or Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

And it couldn’t be a top-end hot hatch without a massive rear wing that makes a statement along with a lower rear splitter and bulging exhaust hardware. Whether or not that wing really helps or hinders is irrelevant, as it looks good.

When you’re behind wheel it not only will sound good, but look good as well. You get Recaro sports seats and a flat-bottom leather steering wheel with blue accent stitching all around. RS logos are everywhere and you get some handsome aluminum pedals too.

Making the RS special above and beyond its performance and visual hardware is that it will be the only Focus sold in North America which is built in Germany. While this shouldn’t matter, it likely will when it comes to build quality and feel.

And it’s likely going to matter when it comes to price, which hasn’t yet been announced. Given near performing rivals like Subaru WRX STI, and Golf R hover just under $40,000 at base price we expect so will the Ford Focus RS. Time will tell.

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About the author

Sam Haymart

Smoker of fine tires, eater of natural foods, connoisseur of aromatic leathers, and pusher of limits. Publisher and editor of Steed Publications news outlets including this one, ActivityVehicle.com, Motoring2.com, DieselDig.com and host at TestDriven.TV. Twitter - Facebook - Google+