Ford will only build 1,500 examples for the U.S. and Canada.
When the current-generation Ford Focus bows out next year, it won’t be going quietly. Ford Performance has dished up a limited-edition Ford Focus RS for 2018 that delivers two things Blue Oval hot hatch enthusiasts have wanted – a limited-slip front differential and a shade of red for the outside. In addition, the limited model gets more standard equipment and a few other touches to set it apart from the standard issue RS. Horsepower remains unchanged at 350, and yes, the all-important drift button will still encourage sideways behavior.
In creating this car, Ford says it relied heavily on input from customers and fans. The launch video for the RS actually features a group of enthusiasts invited for a preview of the new model, guided through the reveal by master tire slayer Ken Block himself.
“To satisfy strong demand for the ever-popular Focus RS, I’m very excited that we’re bringing this limited-edition vehicle to North America,” said Henry Ford, Ford Performance marketing manager, in a press release. “We have spent a great deal of time listening to our customers, speaking to owners’ club members, reading comments and suggestions on enthusiast websites, and even studying various forum Photoshop renderings.”
The big news is the new front differential, which is a standard Quaife mechanical unit that sends power to whichever front wheel has more grip. Compared to the stock open differential, Ford says the Quaife unit will help the RS accelerate harder out of corners while carrying more speed through the turn. To accompany the extra bite, limited-edition models can be ordered with the new Race Red color option as well as the familiar Nitrous Blue. Regardless of the choice, all models will get plenty of gloss black on the roof, mirrors, and spoiler.
The limited-edition RS also receives more standard equipment. Everything that was part of the optional RS2 package for the current model – black-trimmed Recaro heated seats, heated steering wheel, heated mirrors, and voice-activated navigation – is standard issue on the limited. Carbon fiber trim is in abundance on the door handles, handbrake lever, and turbo boost gauge. 19-inch painted forged allow wheels with blue RS center caps are also standard.
With the mechanical front differential, we're wondering if Ford will give the new RS an official go at the Nurburgring. Honda's Civic Type R turned a lap of 7:43, which is considerably faster than an RS driven by Germany's Auto Sport, despite having more power and all-wheel drive.
Ford is only planning to build 1,500 limited-edition RS models, with 1,000 slated for the United States and 500 for Canada. They will arrive in dealerships this fall.