2016 Ford Focus RS bows next spring with 350 horsepower

Although the 2016 Ford Focus RS debuted last March in Geneva, the reveal came with sketchy tech details. This week, Ford released a full download on performance as well as pricing for the hottest member of the Focus family -- and the first Focus RS model to come to America.

While the initial output quoted for its specially tuned 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder was a nebulous "in excess of 315 horsepower", Ford announced that the engine in its fastest-ever Focus RS will make 350 horsepower in U.S. trim and also develop 350 lb-ft of torque. Backed by the previously announced 6-speed manual transmission with Launch Control and a new Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring setup, this EcoBoost variant can send the boldly styled Focus RS streaking from 0-62 mph in just 4.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 165 mph. 

AWD with four dynamic handling modes

Fully integrated with advanced stability system that includes brake-based Torque Vectoring, this first application of Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive in the new Focus RS relies on a pair of electronically controlled clutch packs to manage front/rear torque split and also can control left/right torque distribution on its rear axle to further optimize handling and cornering stability. Drivers will be able to choose from four dynamic modes -- Normal/Sport/Track/Drift -- that further configure the car's AWD, shock settings, electronic stability control, steering and engine mapping as well the sound of its exhaust. According to Ford, the All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring virtually eliminates understeer giving the Focus RS more than 1.0g of lateral grip. 

Also: Class of 2016 -- New Cars Ready to Roll 

Co-developed by a Ford Performance engineering team in Europe and the U.S., the 2016 Ford Focus RS will be built in Saarlouis, Germany. The car will start at $36,605 -- a figure that parks it almost squarely atop its chief rival, the Volkswagen Golf R -- and is slated to appear in showrooms here next spring. Options for the new RS include a power moonroof, navigation, 19-inch forged-alloy wheels with or without Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 tires and full leather Recaro sport seats. Although available in the Euro market since 2002 and remade in 2009, Dave Pericak, director, Ford Performance notes: "The all-new Focus RS will bring the legendary nameplate to a new generation of global customers for the first time." Pericak also reiterated Ford's commitment to launch a dozen new enthusiast-grade vehicles between now and 2020. 

Check out our Compact Car Buyer's Guide for a look at what's new and what's next.

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