Ford's fastest European production vehicle to date, the new Focus RS, has rolled off the line at its German Saarlouis plant. Ihe new model marks the return of the Rallye Sport moniker to the Focus and celebrates the brand's wider 38-year history.

The first example of Ford's fastest European production vehicle to date has rolled off the line at its Saarlouis plant in Germany.

The hotly-anticipated new Ford Focus RS marks the second coming of the Rallye Sport moniker to the Focus and its 22nd appearance in its wider 40-year history. Beginning in Germany in the late sixties, the RS brand gathered pace across Europe in 1970 with the launch of the Ford Escort RS1600. Its history parallels that of the RS' Saarlouis production facility, which since opening in 1970 has produced over eleven million vehicles from Escort and Capri to Fiesta and Focus three, five-door, ST and Estate models.

Expected to shift the most units in Swiss, British and German markets, the RS will be available in more than 20 European countries, including Russia, to capitalise on its near cult status and satisfying demand from its loyal following - whose enthusiasm arguably jolted Ford into bringing the Focus RS back into production.

The new RS is powered by Ford's 305 PS turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder Duratec engine, achieving the RS a top speed of 160 mph and 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds. Harking back to its roots and finishing off a striking exterior, a 1970s-reminiscent 'Ultimate' Le Mans Green paintwork is offered in addition to 'impressive' Frozen White and Performance Blue finishes. Wider arches and track, unique bumpers front and rear as well as a large venturi tunnel and imposing spoiler at the rear are the primary exterior modifications over the ST it is based on.

"We are excited that a new RS-badged Ford performance model is back in our portfolio and that production at Saarlouis is starting on schedule," said John Fleming, Ford of Europe Chairman and CEO. "And I'm confident that [customers] will fall for it the moment they get behind the wheel."

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