By on February 3, 2015

fordfocusrs-01-1

Ford is finally giving the North American market a Focus RS. It will be the first Focus RS to have all-wheel drive, and it won’t be built Stateside.

Just as TTAC predicted, our North American Focus RS will be imported from Germany. According to our sources, the Michigan Assembly Plant that builds the rest of the Focus lineup cannot physically fit the RS down its assembly line.

The RS will use the 2.3L Ecoboost 4-cylinder, expected to make 315 horsepower. Two-mode dampers and an all-wheel drive system that can send 70 percent of power to the rear wheels are also on tap. A 6-speed manual is the only transmission choice.

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91 Comments on “Ford Introduces German-Made Focus RS For U.S. Market...”


  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I love hot hatches as much as, or more than, the next guy. I’ve owned a GTI, R32, and Focus ST. However, a German built, AWD, Focus RS is going to be more expensive than a Mustang GT. Why would I want this over a Mustang GT?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Because you crave Euro-cred amongst your other iPhone using friends, and need something to help you feel young when you drive to the suburban office park.

      :)

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Because 4-doors and AWD

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’ll give you AWD, but the 4 door arguement is effectively countered with the fact that the Focus RS will most likely have some sort of Recaro seats. In the Focus ST, they make the rear doors and back seat absolutely worthless. They might have well just made it two doors.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I didn’t expect you of all people to have such a downer on this car!

          You’re very pro-Ford, and you’re very pro-hatch.

          Did your daughter kick your head today in the car with a dirty shoe?!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Hahaha.

            My daughter cannot reach my head in the C-Max, yet. In the Fiesta ST she can kick me in the eye.

            I love the idea of the RS, and I think it’s a cool car. I’m glad they are bringing it over. Maybe if I was single or just married I buy one. I just can’t see myself shelling out $37K for a Focus RS when the same dealership have a Mustang GT for the same or lower price.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That’s true, tis the only way to get a small hatch with 4 doors and AWD from America. Course it’s too low to use in snow, and will have tires that need changing most likely if you’re going to go through a winter.

        But these are not a concern for the ST fan.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I Fusion ST/Sport/RS would get me WAY more excited.

          • 0 avatar
            James2

            Ford says they are going to be bringing out a lot of performance cars over the next few years. A Fusion ST/SHO will be one of them, I predict.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I think they will too. I don’t even care if it’s the new 9-speed automatic that powers it either. I’d happily buy one. How the Taurus, Edge, Explorer, Fiesta, and Focus have performance versions while the Fusion doesn’t hurts my brain. With the Taurus dying, the Fusion needs to take the SHO mantle.

        • 0 avatar
          IHateCars

          Nah….throw a good set of snows for the Winter and it’d be a great Winter cruiser. And as much as I like the ‘Stang GT, this would be far more practical.

          I like this thing, if I were in the market for a high power AWD hatch, this would be near top of the list. Although I’m sure it’ll be $45K+ up here in the Great White North.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It is not much more practical than a Mustang. If the Focus ST was “practical”, I’d still own one.

            Compared to the Mustang, you get an extra two doors of little use (geting a kid in the back of a Mustang is easier), and a marginally bigger trunk (the full size spare takes up some room).

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Why would I want this over a Mustang GT?”

      Horses for courses. The Focus backseat is tight, but how is it for baby seats and young children. If you’re thinking about starting a family or you’ve already begun, this is a great performance alternative.

      Yes, you can put a baby seat in a Mustang but dealing with that on a daily basis would get old real fast, at least for me.

      This is a niche car. Like other AWD, turbo four, rally influenced vehicles. As are mid-engined Porsches and desert running Raptors.

      I’ll be taking a look at this but if the back seat space is still kinda tight, there might be a Golf R in my future.

      And I’m throwing a flag and giving you a yellow card for the new to used comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Judging by the Focuses I’ve seen and having to deal with a rear facing child seat the past 5 months I’d venture to guess that you could get a forward facing child seat behind the taller front seat occupant and a rear facing seat behind the shorter front seat occupant.

        But that also means whatever configuration you set up is pretty permanent, meaning if you are tall and the driver’s seat, baby seat combo is set up for you, it’s going to be heck for you to get into the passenger front seat if it is up against the dash for a rear facing seat behind it.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        “The Focus backseat is tight, but how is it for baby seats and young children.”

        Equipped with the Recaro seats, TERRIBLE.

        I’ll accpet my yellow card. I hate to be a downer about this car, because I love the Focus ST, but I have been very critical of the Golf R. The Golf R’s fatal flaws, price and comparable performance to the GTI, are flaws the RS may share (price, but probably not performance). Different horses applies, but I’ll take a pony for my $40K. If I was at a different point in my life, I would think about buying this.

        Ford needs to shove the 2.7TT or 3.5TT into the Fusion with this AWD system and I will happily order one.

        • 0 avatar
          LeeK

          bball, we have similar backgrounds: I’ve had three GTIs, an R32, and an Evo VIII. Affordable performance has always been the Mustang’s forte. But it drives differently than hot hatches or AWD rally cars. Many times an automobile decision comes from emotion over logic. I’d get a Focus RS because 1. It drives differently than a Mustang, 2. It would be way more rare, and 3. It avoids the Mustang image of appealing to red necks and old geezers. I fully admit a Focus RS’s image (at least in Europe) is one of hooliganism, but most people in the US would look at it the way they look at an STi, with a perplexed expression on their face.

          This is a niche car for enthusiasts. I applaud Ford for bringing over here.

        • 0 avatar
          johnny_5.0

          How many Golf R stay stock? Even just a stage 1 on that (or a S3) is a damn quick car. But agreed the stock performance is nothing mesmerizing vs. the GTI if you are after a base S model. And Ford totally needs a Fusion ST/RS.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            “How many Golf R stay stock?”

            That’s why I tell people to never buy a Golf R or GTI used. I know multiple people that throw on a bunch of mods, then when it’s time to trade in the car they take them all off. Just buy a new GTI people, you don’t know when someone actually changed the DSG fluid.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatic

        Mustang only has 46.5% of its weight on the rear tires (EcoBoost according to C & D test sheet), making it marginal in the snow. Why Ford is not mounting the battery in the trunk (FCA does). This would increase the rear weight to 47.6% (from 46.5) not perfect but better. I want to replace my Lincoln but no one is offering a car with the features I want. Closest is the V6 Charger of all things.

    • 0 avatar
      MrOblong

      Because not everybody wants a sporty coupe thingy with rear seats?

      My sports cars are 2-seaters, even if they’re not as fast as a Mustang.

      I think of cars like the Golf R and Focus RS as fun AWD MT wagons that just happen to be a bit shorter than a BMW 328 wagon… for $10k less and you can’t get the BMW with a stick anymore.

      I gave up on BMW bringing the right car for me; I’m more than happy to see Ford and VW step up to the plate with cheaper, higher-performance offerings than what I was originally looking for from BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      If you were a city dweller, the Focus would be more appealing just for the form factor.

      The Focus hatchback is about 172″ long. From a practical standpoint, that means it can fit into parking spaces that are too small for Corollas.

      A Mustang is about 188″ long. That’s pretty darn close to the length of a Fusion.

      Plus, the Focus has enough cargo capacity to serve as a primary car.
      24 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up. That’s, like, a Camry and a half worth of trunk. The Mustang only gets 11 cubic feet.

      People looking at Mustang ownership are likely to already have a large family car or CUV in the family for stuff-hauling duty – the Focus appeals to those who do not.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I found the Focus ST, and Golf GTI for that matter, to be a poor primary family car. Europeans are forced to deal with that, but in the land of the free and the home of the Whopper, we don’t have to. If the Mustang isn’t family friendly enough for your tastes, Ford makes a 320 HP AWD Edge. Sure it weighs 900 lbs more, but it has 40 cu ft of storage behind the second row.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Aww it’s wearing a retainer. How cute.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I have wood

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Pardon me while I wipe the drool off my screen.

    (Sending email to my wife – Subject: Replacement of your 2005 Pontiac Vibe & your deep love of manual transmissions + ludicrous power)

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Trouble is my wife will NOT drive a stick and she just cracks up when she sees these seats. She hates them.
      They do look funny and I understand they are absolutely terrible for any long driving.

      And why would this car NOT come with an auto if AWD?

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        “And why would this car NOT come with an auto if AWD?”

        How are these related?

        And what is so funny about the seats, orange inserts notwithstanding? Thus far they’re the most immediately comfortable seats I’ve ever tried, while I didn’t spend an extended time in them, that is kind of Recaro’s bread and butter, and I’ve heard far more positive than negative from owners I know.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    how come;
    VW can make a business case for a 300 hp stick shift AWD hatchback that costs almost $40k,
    Ford can make a business case for a 300 hp stick shift AWD hatchback that costs almost $40k.
    Subaru use to make a business case for a 300 hp stick shift AWD hatchback that costs almost $40k. (but now I think regret the decision)

    but Audi can’t do the same for the S3 hatch?

  • avatar
    Jgwag1985

    All wheel drive! A Subaru WRX STi, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution cost as much as Mustang GT. I believe as Ford does, very few will actually cross shop a Mustang. How do you appeal to Subaru or Mitsubishi drivers if you have nothing comparable? How do you appeal to people that want performance but cannot afford to have two cars, one for summer and one for winter?

    I had a Mustang(didn’t plan to but had to store for winter and get a clunker), friend had a Mustang (ran snow tires) terrible in the snow. I’ll take the Focus RS over the Mustang GT all day long. My guess is price will be right around WRX STI Limited’s price. If the Mustang were available with all wheel drive………….

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    What the heck is up with that front facia?

  • avatar

    The title says “for U.S. market”, yet the article sez “fir North American market”… dare I ask, will this be available in Canada?

  • avatar
    kkop

    Too bad about the four doors: my elbow and the B-pillar wouldn’t get along probably

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    Just in time to replace the EVO I guess. It gives the pedantic engineer types something to talk about. So many choices for $37+k, it’s hard to envision spending it on this.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I’m curious. What would you be looking at?

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        I’m not really looking at anything- but at that price or very close you can get into Audi’s, BMWs, Cadillac ATS or base CTS, Camaro SS 1LE, Challenger (with 6.4), Mustang GT, Infiniti, Lexus is350, Loaded Miata plus a Triumph, a Mercedes CLA, etc.

        The 35k – 40k space is fairly loaded and I don’t think this car does either family car or racer boy well enough to compete. Nor does it strike as a good balance in-between.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny_5.0

        I’m in the market for something like this (4 door kid capable + fast/fun). I want to keep it around $40K or less. Right now a ’15 Scat Pack Charger, Golf GTI, or Golf R are at the top of the list. This RS has potential, but I have several problems with it.

        A Golf R has an interior that seems appropriate for a near $40K car. If this costs as much as an R, there’s probably no chance I’d pick this just because of the interior alone. The backseat of the R is also likely easier for kid duty.

        I don’t need AWD for weather (summer tires all year here), but I’d prefer it for performance potential vs. FWD. Anything I buy in this class will be at least stage 1 tuned.

        Despite losing the convenient hatch, a WRX or STI is probably easier to get a baby in to/out of. The tiny turbo on the WRX is a damn shame. The old engine in the STI guzzles gas like a V8, but it’s a known platform for mods. I’m fine with the 17.5 MPG I’ve averaged in my Mustang, but better mileage is always a bonus.

        The GTI is cheap around $25K. I’d just get a base model + performance pack for the LSD.

        The entry level lux sedans are either tiny in back or have zero cheap tuning potential (or both), so that rules out something like a G37. I want something that could trap around ~110+.

        An AWD GTI, for GTI money not R money, would probably be about perfect for what I want. It’s got a good size turbo and tunes well, assuming your turbo doesn’t implode. It’s light. But it is always going to be limited by FWD. For the price of an R, I’d probably lean toward something more substantial like the Scat Pack. However that’s a good 400-600 pounds too fat to be ideal. While there are an increasing number of interesting cars at this price range, none are really ideal for me. If Chevy sold an SS for mid to high 30s I’d be all over that despite the subdued styling. I understand why they don’t/can’t, but I wish someone would challenge Chrysler with a lighter RWD/V8 (or turbo 6) offering.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          You think about cars the similar to the way I do. I don’t shop traditional segments. I look at what I need/want from the car and pick those that fit the bill.

          Some would say you can’t cross shop a Charger and a GTI. I say of course you can and more than you think do.

          I’ve got high hopes for the Golf R. I’m also looking at the SS, WRX, GTI, and possibly a Wrangler.

          Whatever I get, it’ll stay stock for most if not all of the warranty period.

          The R and the Charger do have different driving feel. Have you driven one and if you have how’d you like it?

          • 0 avatar
            johnny_5.0

            I obviously haven’t driven a new R yet, but I’ve had a bunch of Charger rentals over the last few years. You can feel every pound and inch of that car. It feels gargantuan compared to my Mustang which is already pretty big and heavy. Nothing you’d want to autocross, but it feels like a tank in a good way. A well put together cruiser.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Good bye Focus ST. Hello Focus RS. I have already emailed my dealer. If there is one thing the last 7 days of Boston weather has shown me is a true appreciation for AWD. This thing w/ the snow tires I have on the ST will be just what the doctor ordered the next time we have 4 feet of snow in 7 days.

    The interior is a little… meh. I do love those new Recaro seats though.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      For four feet of snow in seven days, I recommend moving somewhere else over a Focus RS. I had to push my neighbor’s Golf R out of the snow in Metro Detroit yesterday. He wouldn’t spring for winter tires though. His all-seasons failed him yesterday and he had to be saved by a man in a hybrid with winter tires.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        I live in Florida now. Grew up in the suburbs of NYC. Whenever I ask family or friends still living there if they’re going to put snows on this season they all seem to be content with all seasons, especially if the car has AWD.

        Thankfully, I can run summers all year long.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy

        I”m running goodyear ultra ice and snows on 17″ rims for winter. The ST does very well all things considered. Tail happy as all get out which I find endlessly entertaining.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not enthused with the interior of my ST.
      Sometimes it’s rock solid, sometimes it rattles like that car from Gung Ho. That gives me pause, spending Mustang GT money on this, but hey I can get a 300hp AWD hatchback missile without having to buy a VW.

  • avatar
    John R

    Any line on when this goes on sale?

    I think it would be hysterical that this goes on sale the same year the Evo ceases to be offered.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Grille/front bumper looks like the punch plate on a hydraulic press.

  • avatar

    It’s very ironic that Ford imports the RS straight from Germany when Volkswagen now builds its U.S. Golf (and GTI and Golf R) in Mexico alongside the other small cars.

  • avatar
    DearS

    The car looks Great! I hope it is reliable and semi-affordable, Wish it had a nicer interior!
    They might want to design a version for lincoln now that they have AWD and 300+HP!

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      No.

      They shouldn’t spend a dollar on a Lincoln Focus. If they are adding another model it better be a four door Mustang sedan. I find the very idea of an MkFocus offensive.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Was this ever a production thing?!

    http://cdn.stangtv.com/image/2013/03/shelby-2.jpg

  • avatar
    doublechili

    AWD cars with MTs are so rare that I welcome any car with that combo. But unfortunately, in the US there really aren’t any large AWD/MT cars. The RS is appealing to me, but at some point during the ownership of my next car my sons will be well over 6′ tall and I’ll have to fit them in the backseat plus carry sports equipment, etc.. Not sure this car, or any of the AWD/MT new cars available will really work.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    I’m sure the RS will be great, but are we getting into diminishing returns here? A local dealer periodically advertises STs in the low 20s (“five at this price”). Will the extra bucks for the RS be worth it?

    • 0 avatar

      Ford seems selling all the Boss 302 and whatever other crazy Mustang versions for whatever money, so why not this.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Depends on the person. To echo what Pete said:

      – will a GT350 be worth it compared to a GT?

      – is a M3 worth it compared to a 335i?

      – is a Rubicon worth it compared to a Sport/Sahara?

      – is a GT3 worth it compared to a C2S?

      I could go on but I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m saying. Some will look at the two and choose the RS. Others won’t. They’re both right.

      IMO the only bad decision is having the means and the desire and not choosing what you want.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        “will a GT350 be worth it compared to a GT?”

        As long as you don’t get A-plan and can find one for MSRP, yes. The GT is A-plan eligible, and the GT350 isn’t. For me, that makes an $8K-$10K difference in price a $12K-$15K one.

        Unlike the last Golf R, the Focus RS will feel like it’s worth it over the ST. My R32 was worth the extra money compared to my GTI, but that was because the discounts on the R32 made it very close to the GTI in price. However, I miss my GTI, and I am glad the R32 is gone. Also, I was extremely disappointed with the last Golf R when I drove it. It was a less fun GTI. The RS will not have that problem though.

    • 0 avatar
      outback_ute

      Now that the RS has awd there is a big difference between the cars, I was surprised to see that. Absolutely diminishing returns though, and hypothetically I don’t think I could justify it personally. For what it’s worth, hypothetically I would be more inclined to buy a previous generation ST though, because I like those better.

  • avatar
    carnick

    Very cool car! But, once again, a car company decides that Americans won’t buy 2-door hatchbacks, and we only get the 4 door version.

    Ford sells 2-door hatch versions of both the Focus and The Fiesta in Europe, but not here. If either the Fiesta ST or Focus RS were sold here in the same 2-door hatch version as in Europe, I would buy one (or both) in a heartbeat.

    It’s purely a personal preference, but, I don’t want nor need a “4 door” car that looks like a station wagon. It’s enough to keep me from ever buying one.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Agreed! What happened to true hot hatches… you know the 2 door variety? If they are only bringing over the 6 speed they are already in niche territory, so just ditch the other set of doors. Anyone buying this for it hoon-ablity doesn’t need the extra weight / size of the 4 door version. This is basically a Golf R without the worry of visiting you VeeDub dealership every other week.

      • 0 avatar
        Felis Concolor

        True hot hatches only have 2 doors? I have no idea which group created that arbitrary definition, but it’s been wrong for 30 years.

        In the 80s when the hot hatchback category was created, the highest performance models all had 4 doors although the rest of the pretenders didn’t notice. I guess it had something to do with the L-body crazies becoming bored with the rest of the field and making life miserable for the pony cars and so-called high performance vehicles instead.

        The only other high performance FWD vehicles we worried about in those days were the first gen turbocharged Ford Probes. Those were every bit the equal of the Iacocca/Shelby offerings.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Extra size of the four-door version? You wanna maybe clarify that a bit? I’ll give you the weight, but at the same time, Ford quotes a whopping 5kg of extra weight by going from the 3-door Fiesta to the 5-door – if you bow at the altar of Colin Chapman that much, you’re probably also not interested in something that’ll probably clock in around 3500lbs.

        Also, we’ve never gotten a 2-door WRX or Evo in North America, and that doesn’t seem to have hurt them.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      There is no 3-door Focus any more, at all.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I hear ya and I’m all for choice. Having kids means I need the four doors. It’s not a big deal until the rug-rats download but after the event having four makes it a lot easier.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if a significant number of sales comes from people with kids who want performance in their daily driver. Anyway, like I said I’d like to see the option but if they only offer a three door they’d be kicking themselves in the nuts followed by an uppercut to the jaw, to be left knocked out on a dusty road. The horror.

  • avatar
    carnick

    I’m all for choice as well. In Europe the Fiesta ST is sold in both 2-door and 4-door versions. Ford already makes the car, same drivetrain, I can’t imagine that any additional ‘certifications’ would be needed.

    Why can’t we get the same choices here in the U.S.?

    I appreciate that there are no to minimal performance differences between 2 and 4 door versions. For me it’s just a personal preference, both for aesthetic reasons (I prefer the sleeker look of a 2-door to a ‘station wagon’), and functionality. I don’t have kids, don’t need easy access to the back seat, and would prefer the easier access to the front seat that the longer door on a 2-door offers.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Because we get ours from a different plant that only makes 4-door models. The lack of Fiesta, and two door subcompact, sales in the US further supports Ford’s decision.

    • 0 avatar
      outback_ute

      I gather that the different bodyshell/powertrain combination does require separate certification for the US.

      @JMII – ‘true’ hot hatches don’t weigh the 3400 lb or so that the RS will. You have to look at the B-segment hatches now for a ‘true’ hot hatch, in my opinion.

      Popular opinion is that the Fiesta ST is more ‘fun’ than the Focus ST, I can’t imagine this will change with the RS.

  • avatar
    JD321

    Another $40K POS?

  • avatar
    theslik1

    Nice car (I assume), but I’ll have to say “no” to the brake-based torque-vectoring.

    Hopefully Subaru will wake up and build that 5-door STI with the FA motor.

    I’ll wait.

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