By on October 12, 2015

Focus RS Engineers Drop the Hammer

“Idiot-proof” is a little harsh. Maybe “Idiot-helping.”

Ford on Monday announced that the Focus RS would sport 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque — up from 345 and 324 respectively — and have a “stall recovery” feature that restarts the car if you’re a beginner with three pedals in a $36,000 hot hatchback.

The feature is an evolution of start-stop technology, according to Ford. If a driver stalls the Focus RS at a light, the engine will start itself by pressing the clutch again — without shifting into neutral. We asked a Ford spokesman if the feature could be disabled — similar to start-stop in other cars — for situations such as push-starting, but didn’t immediately hear back. 

Ford also detailed its 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that will appear in the Focus RS. The engine, which was lifted from the Mustang but tuned for the Focus RS, will produce 350 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 350 pounds-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm.

Ford said the turbocharger, which will deliver 23.2 psi during 20 seconds of overboost, will be helped by an intercooler and larger radiator for extra cooling.

Ford will sell the Focus RS in the States next spring. Production of the car begins later this year.

(Note to readers: Sometimes I am that idiot, too.)

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67 Comments on “Ford Focus RS Now With 350 Horsepower, 350 Torques, Idiot-proof Manual...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Good. When I see one it’ll be brief.

  • avatar
    balreadysaid

    I would love to try 350 out!

    I did suspension work on a 15′ wrx last week. If was a wonderful car!

    Much better than any I have driven lately.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    If this is what CAFE gives us, I’m all for it.

  • avatar
    kingbernie06511

    is it 350/350 on overboost or reg boost?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Is this an RS? From the pictures, I’m unsure if they have it pasted on every panel.

    Edit: Nope, they do.

    350HP in something this size is ludicrous though. Good good.

    Edit2: I realized it looks like it’s wearing a retainer or a mouth guard. That bar would look better in body color.

  • avatar
    cretinx

    Why would anyone spend their $36,000 at the Ford dealership on this instead of a Mustang?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Because some people like hatchbacks and AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      The RS is all wheel drive.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      I’d happily go for the RS over a Mustang because I appreciate the Focus’ better packaging and use of space; and would therefore get more value out of the RS vs a Mustang.

      This is probably not unusual. A buyer who intends to use the back seat often, for example, might find the Focus to be a better fit. Also, anybody who is planning to drive in the snow regularly.

      Why would you spend your $36,000 Ford bucks on a Mustang? Sure it’s probably faster with the 5.0, but not in any meaningful way on the street.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        My problem is that if I buy a Mustang, it’s going to creep way into the 40s, and then I may convince myself to just get the GT350.

        • 0 avatar
          kosmo

          There are far worse problems than talking yourself into ending up with a GT350!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            As long as I can rationalize it, I won’t have a problem. At first, my wife will be skeptical of me replacing my C-Max with a GT350, but she can drive it too.

            I have a feeling she’d rather have a Focus RS though. She’s daily driven three different hot hatches since we’ve been married, and women love the initials “AWD”.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        I’ve sat in the focus as a passenger. Like most modern cars, the seats have become ridiculously small and hence uncomfortable. I wouldn’t buy one just for that reason. The last mustang I drove didn’t suffer from that problem, but I have yet to drive the current mustang so I can’t comment on that.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          I think you may have more of a problem with the Recaro buckets. The recaros in the mustang are just as small feeling as the ones in the focus. You just need the standard seats.

          Pro-tip: If you’re getting a mustang premium the Recaros are a useless option anyway. For $1500 extra, you lose the power, cooling, and I believe heating functionality.

          They only make sense if you want the “fastest” vesion – a base GT with performance pack and Recaros – because you plan on tracking it.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      “Why would anyone spend their $36,000 at the Ford dealership on this instead of a Mustang?” — I’m not in the market for either one, but if it meant lighter weight and (hopefully) better handling, I’d easily lean toward the RS over a Mustang.

      As far as I can tell from a quick Google search, a Ford Mustang GT bests the RS in 0-60 by 0.2 sec. and about 1/2 a second in the 1/4 mile. Not much at all.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    I don’t know how revolutionary stall recovery is. I rented a Volvo V70 D2 (1.56L diesel) last month that had auto start and when I stalled it pushing the clutch in would restart the motor without having to shift to neutral. I can’t think of many people that would be stalling regularly after a few days, though.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Compared to my 8 year old Infiniti G37, the RS has slightly more horsepower, significantly more torque and, despite the addition of all wheel drive, it will probably weigh significantly less than my G37’s 3,700 pounds. The RS should be a projectile.

  • avatar
    dss10

    “If a driver stalls the Focus RS at a light, the engine will start itself by pressing the clutch again — without shifting into neutral…..”

    Sounds like they know the market for these cars……

    • 0 avatar
      tangibleghost

      The sticks and clutches in the other RS cars are supposed to be really good for new manual drivers, which is a huge number of first-car buyers. Call me a a heretic, but I suspect if Ford had a sporty version of their PowerShift DCT they’d sell these cars with one. But they don’t, and I suspect it’s a significant constraint on the sale of these cars. “You don’t have to worry about stalling at lights” seems like it’ll sell a few extra to nervous first-stick buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      How could anyone stall a car with a 350 hp and 350 lb.ft. engine?

      If you do stall it Ford Sync should automatically dial Google for the location of their closest autonomous pod to take you home.

  • avatar
    wumpus

    So now after you stall the thing you get to grind the starter? Talk about adding insult to injury (or injury to insult if the starter breaks).

    The bit about being “that idiot” can be applied for using “torques” as a unit.

    • 0 avatar
      xflowgolf

      Most modern cars don’t let you grind the starter… they’re smart enough to know if they’re running, and only engage the starter if needed.

      I know my wife’s Volvo even controls the duration of cranking. You just tap the key forward and it’ll crank on it it’s own until fired. Same with all the push to start button cars I’ve driven.

    • 0 avatar
      bkmurph

      You don’t watch much Top Gear, do you? The presenters (Clarkson, in particular) seem to have a fondness for making collective nouns plural: horsepowers, torques, carbon dioxides. Maybe our author is mimicking them.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Meh. The idiot-helping transmission tech is hill-holder and rev-matching. Auto-restart is like a poor man’s version of anti-stall, which has been around forever.

    Idiot-proofing manual transmissions is a conflicting new direction for automobiles. It’s awesome because it makes manuals more accessible, but it also makes the experience less pure. Good news is that no one cars about purity, not even enthusiasts, when they are stuck in rush hour traffic….on a hill…….at altitude…..with the A/C on max. Please give me all the high-control, rev-matching, anti-stall and auto-restart.

    • 0 avatar
      mitchw

      I care. That’s why I’m not interested in arguments about manuals v auto. Heck, even the Cayman GT4 will rev match on downshifts.

      The war’s over.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Hill-holder + rev-matching + auto-restart = manual with training wheels.

      This is really a good thing. Manuals can be intimidating to newbies, so this is one way to make this kind of fun accessible. I just hope there’s a way to remove the training wheels though.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Garbage like this stall recovery really grinds my gears. It’s like when I’m trying to type a spreadsheet or write a word doc and the darn thing starts auto formatting when I don’t want it to.

    I CAN THINK FOR MYSELF. I don’t need an automaker’s patronizing and costly brand of Bull Pocky.

    It’s when cars do unexpected and highly intrusive things that I didn’t ask for it to do that accidents happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      This is the typical US car enthusiast answer: Oh no, new technology, work of the devil! It’s been like this for decades, starting with radial tires, seat belts, fuel injection, ABS etc. The list goes on and on.

      I fail to see how accidents should happen just because your car restarts the engine once you press the clutch after stalling. It’s the opposite of intrusive.

      I also fail to see the why Ford makes a big story out of this. Both manual cars I had with start-stop (Mini Cooper D, Golf GTD) had that feature.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Then you’ll never know it’s there. Problem solved.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    has anyone released solid info about the AWD systems power delivery to each wheel? (limited slip/torque vectoring/max front & rear torque percentages etc.)? Is it more EVO/GT-R or more STI style?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Up to 70% to the rear wheels. And up to 100% of that power can go to one wheel. It sends power to wheels preemptively.

      It’s voodoo magic.

      PTU in the front. Has an independent electronic control unit for the rear drive unit. Twin hydraulic clutches for the rear driveshafts.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        I’m going to be so mad when I don’t get one. $36k for all that? Just driving on usually damp roads puts this ahead of the Mustang for me. I hope the supply outlasts the ADM.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          As someone who drives in winter and has a pair of 17″ winter wheels/tires that would probably fit the RS, I come closer to the RS side every day. Plus, I want to drive my daughter to school, in the winter, in drift mode!

  • avatar
    Chopsui

    Please don’t ever use the word “torques” again.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    Stating “The engine, which was lifted from the Mustang…” is selling the drivetrain in this car extremely short:

    -upgraded alloy cylinder head for higher temps
    -stronger head gasket
    -stronger high-tensile cast iron cylinder liners
    -revised intake/throttle body
    -larger compressor wheel
    -cooling upgrades, etc. etc.

    Yes it’s derived from the same 2.3 architecture, but neither the block nor head is directly lifted from the 2.3 Ecoboost used elsewhere (like the Mustang).

    • 0 avatar
      Scuttle

      Don’t expect much from Aaron Cole, he is pretty good at leaving out details that take one google search to find. The article about the final Mitsu EVO was also missing some facts. I gave him a break in the beginning but now I find myself having to go elsewhere to get the “truth” about cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        I thought this was precious:

        “Ford said the turbocharger, which will deliver 23.2 psi during 20 seconds of overboost, will will be helped by an intercooler and larger radiator for extra cooling”

        Wow! You mean that this engine, which is pulling 350 hp from 2.3 liters, has one of those newfangled INTERCOOLER gizmos?

        Man, that’s serious…

      • 0 avatar
        Vega

        I think Aaron Cole is just an internet writer, but not a car enthusiast. This can be good for a more realistic view of the market, but is obviously bad when he feels the need to copy the fact that the Focus RS has an intercooler (who’d have thunk?) from the Ford press release.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Could do some Super Dave or H B Halicki in this thing. But a reality check for me would be red lights, cycling advocates, pedestrians, the insurance industry… And that Wal-Mart buggy check. Along with a randon ex G.I. backpacker with huge hunting knife prying my badges.
    All of them would find me and my RS.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    Why, pray tell, do you describe it as “350 torques”? Is this some new affectation to sound hip and inside, or some sign of lack of familiarity with, and command of, the English language, automotive/engineering domain?

    Properly it is “350 ft-lbs. of torque” or if you wish to shorten it, for an audience that would comprehend from the context, just “350 ft.-lbs.”.

    But 350 torques just sounds either stupid, or affected, or both.

    Spanish has a good word for it: cursi.

    Part of my pushback against the idea that English might be the most powerfully expressive of all languages. Not saying that it is necessarily less than, but only that it is not clearly “more than” all the rest. That idea to me seems like the embodied expression of ethnocentrism.

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