Ford of Europe says an all-new performance-oriented ’09 Focus RS is now undergoing performance and durability testing at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit in preparation for its launch early next year.
Jost Capito, vehicle line director for performance vehicles, is heading the RS project. Capito’s development team was responsible for the first-generation RS in 2002, as well as the more recent Fiesta ST and Focus ST models.
“The new Focus RS is as much a car for driving enthusiasts as the one before it and the classic Focus RS models of the past,” says Capito. “We’re staying true to the core RS principles of a no-compromise, affordable, high-performance road car you can live with.”
The new RS boasts a turbocharged version of Ford’s 2.5L Duratec inline-5-cyl. that boasts more than 276 hp and 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) of torque.
Various chassis innovations, developed in conjunction with Ford’s Advanced Engineering Centre in Aachen, Germany, are being tuned by Capito’s team with the objective of achieving optimized driving dynamics and on-road performance through an advanced front-wheel-drive system aided by a limited-slip differential.
“In early prototypes based on Ford ST vehicles, the new system is more than meeting our targets for exceptional levels of traction, handling and steering,” Capito says. “Given that the enthusiastic team behind the car are all performance-vehicle enthusiasts, you can imagine that our standards are high.”
The new RS will benefit from engineering knowledge gleaned from Ford’s various motorsport programs, most notably with the Focus World Rally Car.
“With two consecutive Manufacturer’s World Rally Championship titles and the success of Fiesta and Focus ST models, we have the knowledge and the experience,” Capito says. “The time is right for Ford to deliver a new high-performance model for the legions of loyal Ford RS customers around Europe.”