By Mark Kleis
Thursday, Feb 16th, 2012 @ 10:13 am
 
With sales of Ford's all-new 2012 Focus well underway around the world, and the mid-level Ford Focus ST nearing production, we must now turn our attention to the range-topping Focus RS thanks to some new information about Ford's hottest hatch.

Just about any automotive enthusiast can attest to the entertainment value of Top Gear (U.K.), but every now and again the blokes across the Atlantic also dig up some rather juicy details: like news of a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine destined for the next-gen Focus RS sometime in 2014 (as a 2015 model year).

According to the folks from the BBC show, an inside source that is "intimately connected with Team RS" said that Ford will likely ditch the thirsty 2.5-liter, five-cylinder, turbocharged powerplant from the last-gen Focus RS in favor of a more efficient powerplant, most likely a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine producing around 320 horsepower. That same engine is reportedly being developed for use in the next-gen Ford Mustang as well, likely arriving in either special SVO flavor and tuned for economy over power.

Because one of the most defining characteristics of the outgoing RS was its unique exhaust note, Ford may (emphasis on "may") borrow some of noise cancellation technology from the new Mondeo and create some form of artificially enhanced sound. In all likelihood, this will most likely end up being nixed for a less expensive, less complex and more enthusiast-friendly solution based on the exhaust system itself.

You can also expect the return of the renowned Ford RevoKnckle system for the next RS, aimed at minimizing the effects of torque steer coming from the 300+ horsepower, front-wheel drive powertrain.

For you Americans out there, expect this RS to be the first to come state-side - making it the most exciting performance Focus since the Ford Focus SVT from two generations ago. Unless Ford reveals a three-door hatchback between now and 2014, there is a strong chance the next RS will also become the first to arrive in five-door hatchback form, rather than the three-door form it has in the past.