A New Focus RS Will Only Happen If Ford Can Make It Eco-Friendly

Hope you like your hot hatches hybridized.


Apart from the iconic Mustang, we in the United States may not have much in the way of new cars from Ford to look forward to, as the carmaker is in the midst of axing the sedans and hatchbacks from its lineup. Buyers in other parts of the globe, however, are a different story. In 2018, Ford introduced an all-new Focus for other markets, and it’s quickly proliferated into a wide-ranging line of variants, including sedans, station wagons, hatchbacks, luxury models and even a sporty new Focus ST.

Whether that lineup will include a new version of the much-loved Focus RS, however, remains to be seen.

Ford, it seems, is having trouble finding a way to find the necessary power for an RS model and meet increasingly strict EU environmental regulations. According to Autocar, the original idea was to add in a 48-volt mild-hybrid system like the one found in the Mercedes-AMG E53, but now the company believes an even more electrically-assisted powertrain will be needed.

“We are waiting for our engineering team to come up with a solution on the powertrain and that is not easy given the new fleet CO2 regulations,” a senior Ford source told Autocar. “The mild hybrid is not enough.”

Instead, Autocar says Ford is considering using an RS-tuned version of the powertrain from the Ford Escape Hybrid: a 2.5-liter inline-four running the Atkinson cycle (which is more efficient but less power-dense than the more commonly-used Otto cycle), connected to a continuously-variable transmission, an 88-kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery.

The Focus RS, of course, would be tuned to crank out more power than the 200-hp Escape; considering the last version made 350 horsepower and the hybrid gear would likely make the new one even heavier, 400 horses or so seems likely. (It would hopefully also be connected to a different gearbox than a dreaded CVT, too.) Also required: all-wheel-drive to make the most of all that power, and ideally, a Drift Mode like the super-cool one found in the old Focus RS.

If the the plan comes together — and again, that’s an if, not a whenAutocar says a new Focus RS would be likely to arrive in 2022 or 2023. If we’re lucky, perhaps Ford will be reconsidering its plan to leave us Americans all but car-less by then. If not, well, we’ll add it to our list of forbidden fruit vehicles.

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