What has all-wheel drive, 320 horsepower, and most importantly of all, a six-speed manual transmission? The long rumored 2016 Ford Focus RS, that’s what, which broke cover today as a contender for the crown of what’s to be the ultimate hot hatchback.
Using the same 2.3 liter EcoBoost four-banger found in the Mustang EcoBoost, the 2016 Focus RS will offer buyers 320 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque across a flat and near-instant power curve. You’ll be able to shift for yourself through a six-speed gearbox sending power to all four wheels, which should make launching the Focus RS much less of an affair than its front-drive sibling, the ST.
This marks the first time any Focus model will offer all-wheel drive, as even the last 350 horsepower RS was left spinning the front tires, much to Ford’s chagrin. That won’t be a problem with this next-gen RS, as it will apply the same torque-vectoring technology to all four wheels to manage the healthy dose of horsepower. This system is extremely advanced however, managing and monitoring the slip-and-grip and doling the power out as needed; it can even send 100% of the 320 horsepower to a single wheel, should the situation call for it.
The interior gets Recaro racing seats that have become standard (or at least offered as an option) in most Ford performance vehicles, though the rest of the inside is surprisingly underwhelming and just screams “corporate parts bin.” Sure, a new Sync 3 system will feature prominently, but a little more interior flair would have been welcome. The suspension has had a major going-over as well, and while I expect it will first debut in Europe (where it will be built), the Focus RS is going to be available in all of Ford’s markets.
Get those wallets ready.