Ford Focus RS Shows That Ford is Getting Serious About Rally

This week, Ford unveiled the all-new Focus RS, a street-legal performance version of the Focus that follows on the tradition of the company’s global RS signature. There is one caveat this year, though. Rally fans who’re used to seeing the Focus RS blasting through the countryside with all-wheel drive that you can only dream of having.. well, now you can have it!

“We are acutely aware of the benchmarks we have set ourselves with RS performance models through the years, and rest assured this new car raises the game to a new level,” said Jim Farley, president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Several new additions to the Focus RS make it a pretty great car, but the most shocking and sure to be the most well-loved by RX fans will be this AWD. The AWD system that the Focus RS uses has Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control and can send up to 70 percent of the drivetrain’s power to the rear wheels, with that power being capable of up to a 100 percent vector to one wheel or the other. According to the press release:

The Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive system is based on twin electronically controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit. These manage the car’s front/rear torque split, and can control the side-to-side torque distribution on the rear axle – delivering the “torque vectoring” capability that has a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability.

What this means is that during cornering, the rear drive pre-emptively diverts torque to the outer wheel based on inputs from steering, lateral acceleration, yaw and speed. This means better turn-in stability and the near-elimination of understeer. The brake-based torque vectoring and stability control systems work hand-in-hand with this DTVC. The steering, by the way, is the same sport-assist electronic power steering used in the ST models.

As for what’s under the hood of this new everyman rally machine? Well, Ford is being coy about that. It will feature the same 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that is in the Mustang, producing “well in excess of 315 horsepower,” Ford says. It is very different from the pony car’s engine, however, with more cooling and intercooling, a twin-scroll turbocharger, and a large-bore exhaust system. A larger radiator matches.

The design here is to maximize the torque band and deliver more power earlier in the RPM range. All of this runs through a six-speed manual transmission that has a sport clutch, a short shift throw, and race-ready components.

Of course, the exterior of the car is also rather unique. You’ll see in the photos below that the Focus RS is pretty good-looking. Ford has not set pricing yet.

Of course, as soon as this thing was made, Ken Block had to hoon it.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at