Don’t you just love when automakers don’t drop the ball at the last minute and disappoint everyone?
All too often car companies release products that just aren’t as good as they should be. They either don’t listen to what customers are asking for, or they think they don’t need to improve upon a good product (cough, Subaru, cough).
Today, Ford has released the details on the new 2016 Ford Focus RS, a rally-style hatchback aimed directly at the Subaru WRX STI. All of the details we were praying for are thankfully present and accounted for, namely all-wheel-drive a manual gearbox.
Those who know the previous Focus RS in Europe, know it was front wheel drive with over 300hp. Without getting too far into the topic, 300hp is too much power for a FWD car largely because the weight comes off of the drive wheels under hard acceleration. FWD was the old Focus RS’s major weak point. Ford hadn’t confirmed if the new Focus RS would continue to disappoint us, or if it would finally be the proper rally machine we were all hoping for. Happily, they chose to make it the latter.
Power comes from a 2.3L EcoBoost 4 cylinder that is shared with the Mustang. Ford is claiming “at least” 320hp and 320ft/lbs for the 2016 Focus RS, so it should be able to really give the STI a hard time. The new Focus RS also comes with active torque vectoring, a similar system to that of the Mitsubishi Evo, which can send up to 100% of the power to a single wheel.
A growing market segment
With the death of the Mitsubishi Evo this year, and a Subaru STI that hasn’t changed since 2004, I was a little worried that this market segment may soon go away. But with the release of the MK7 Volkswagen Golf R, and now this wonderful Ford Focus RS, it would seem that the market segment is here to stay.
My real hope is that this Focus RS and the Golf R will light a fire under Subaru’s ass and inspire them to build the proper STI that they should’ve been making since 2008. I also hope that Mitsubishi may realize the mistake they’ve made in dropping the Evo from their lineup in order to focus on building weird economy cars that nobody wants.
All-wheel-drive performance cars like these are serious machines, and Ford may well have just built the king of them all. The 2016 Focus RS looks very promising. All we can say is thank you, Ford, thank you for living up to our high hopes!!!