The 2016 Ford Focus RS to hit US shores

The 2016 Ford Focus RS (North American specs) will be showcased at the upcoming New York International Auto Show. It has garnered a lot of interest since rumour of its existence started mid of last year, for this would be Ford’s first AWD performance hatchback since the Escort RS Cosworth in the early nineties.

“RS” is attached to Ford’s fastest street cars developed in Europe; the Focus RS will be manufactured in the company’s Saarlouis plant in Germany, like its predecessors were, but it will be the first RS model to be sold in the US market. The Mustang-sourced 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine has been engineered to generate “in excess of 320 (metric) horsepower”, which elevates the American marque in the performance-hatch category.

Still, there are many questions still regarding the third-generation Focus RS. For instance, how many will be built and exported? The first generation, manufactured in 2002/2003, had a limited run of 4,500 cars just for the European market, half of which were sold in Britain; the second generation saw 11,500 units built with a wider global market – but not including the US nor Canada; and there was the more powerful, special edition, the RS 500.

So, the North American market is now quivering with excitement now that Ford is finally bringing the RS to its homeland, where the company stands to gain a huge customer base. Rumours abound that there will be more than 7,000 units meant just for the US market, but Stephen Odell, Ford’s executive vice president of global marketing, reaffirmed that the RS is intended to be produced in limited numbers, while the Focus ST model is the one for the masses.

Ford has remained tight-lipped about the Focus RS’ price, but has placed it in the same segment as the Subaru WRX STi and VW Golf R, and also the pricier Audi S3, which means it could retail anywhere between US$35,000 to US$50,000.

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