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.
Gallery: 2018 Ford Focus RS Limited Edition
Focus RS Performance Car Fans Inspire New Limited-Edition That’s Even More Fun to Drive
- Ford followed Focus RS enthusiast conversations on blogs, forums and Facebook groups, which helped inspire the new 2018 limited-edition Focus RS
- Limited-edition Focus RS to deliver enhanced driving experience with new standard mechanical limited-slip differential to improve performance, unique interior and exterior styling, and new color combinations
- 1,500 Focus RS vehicles for United States and Canada offer customers last chance to get their hands on this generation of Ford’s critically acclaimed performance hatchback
DEARBORN, Mich., May 31, 2017 – Ford Performance fans talking to each other and posting comments online about the Ford Focus RS hot hatch performance car have led to a special 1,500 unit limited-edition celebrating the end of run of this generation hot hatch.
Passion from the enthusiast community led Ford to introduce an exclusive new version of its critically acclaimed Focus RS for North America. Ford was listening.The new 2018 Focus RS limited-edition hot hatch adds a few commonly requested features that unique interior and exterior styling, and a new mechanical limited-slip differential.
Available in new Race Red or signature Nitrous Blue body color – both featuring striking new gloss black roof and mirror caps. The rear roof spoiler also features gloss black finish, with blue RS logos on the side wings. Now standard are 19-inch premium painted forged alloy wheels with blue RS center caps.
From the cockpit, the door handles, handbrake lever and turbo boost gauge surround are wrapped in carbon fiber skin, while equipment from the RS2 Package is standard, offering black leather-trimmed RECARO® seats with Miko-Dinamica eco-friendly suede microfiber inserts and RS logo, heated front seats with eight-way power driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, heated exterior mirrors and voice-activated navigation system.
To really excite driving enthusiasts, the global Ford Performance team developed a standard mechanical Quaife® limited-slip differential for the front axle that further improves Focus RS performance. This limited-edition Focus RS will more easily carry speed through a corner on the track, and allow for maximum acceleration on the way out.
“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. “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.”
A tight grip on performance
By controlling the torque delivered to each front wheel, the Quaife limited-slip differential enables 2018 Focus RS drivers to fully tap the 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine’s 350 horsepower. The limited-slip differential limits engine torque delivered to a particular front wheel that has reduced traction on the road surface, redistributing torque to the wheel with more traction to reduce differences in wheel spin that can hamper acceleration and stability.
“Our new limited-edition Focus RS represents accessible performance at its finest,” said Jamal Hameedi, Ford Performance chief engineer. “Improving on the thrilling driving dynamics of the Focus RS is no small task – but our Ford Performance engineers have delivered a drivetrain capable of wringing every drop of performance from the engine.”
The new system seamlessly integrates with standard Focus RS driving technologies, including:
- Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive, which varies front-to-rear torque distribution to suit a given driving situation – monitoring inputs from vehicle sensors 100 times per second and sending an average of 70 percent of drive torque to the rear axle
- Dynamic Torque Vectoring, which uses electronically controlled clutch packs on the rear axle to send 100 percent of an average 70 percent available torque to either rear wheel, and can switch drive from one side to the other in as little as 0.06 second – or about the time it takes a humming bird to flap its wings 4 times.
- Torque Vectoring Control, which automatically applies small amounts of brake force to limit wheel spin at the front axle, further enhancing the tractive force available
- Focus RS Drive Modes, which include Ford-first drift mode for controlled oversteer drifts under circuit conditions, and launch control for ultimate performance off the start line and 4.7-second 0‑62 mph acceleration
Coming to a track near you
Only one thousand limited-edition 2018 Focus RS performance cars will be available in the United States and 500 in Canada, with deliveries beginning in late 2017, marking the last opportunity to order the current generation Focus RS in North America.
The limited-edition Focus RS joins Ford’s iconic Ford Performance vehicle range in North America, alongside the recently launched Ford GT supercar, F-150 Raptor, and much-loved Shelby GT350 Mustang, Focus ST and Fiesta ST.