Does the Ford Focus RS really need more power? Really? The current car makes nearly 350, and even that’s causing it to pop head gaskets like a 7-year-old popping Christmas crackers. Ford apparently thinks so, because Autocar reports that the next generation RS will develop over 400 horsepower–from a hybrid powertrain.
The new RS is indicative of Ford’s upcoming strategy of hybridizing absolutely everything, including the Mustang. According to Autocar, the 48V mild hybrid system should be good for up to a whopping 70 more lb-ft of torque than the current engine, as well as a not-trivial 30 bhp. The other big rumored change is the impending adoption of a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which would take advantage of the electric motor’s ability to provide an instant surge of torque. This will, of course, anger the purists; the six-speed manual is the Focus RS’s signature dish, and has been for years.
Speed will take a boost, of course; 0-60 should drop from 4.6 seconds to 4.2, which is stupidly quick for a family hatchback, and a good bit quicker than the Golf R, one of the Rs’s prime competitors. It’s likely to go on sale sooner than expected, around 2020 or 2021, and will probably cost a pretty penny more than the current car, which is already pricey at around $50,000. And since it’ll lack the low weight and manual transmission of the current RS, I’m having a lot of trouble seeing who this is for.