Pretoria, 25 August 2010 – In the 40-year story of Ford RS, the marque has been applied sparingly, merited by only the most high-performance Ford machines of the time. The iconic hot hatch from the blue oval is the first performance Ford available to South Africans since the 1970s when limited numbers of the Escort RS were sold.

The 224kW Focus RS is the latest Ford incarnation to wear the RS badge and become a part of Ford’s glorious performance brand history.

“The RS badge is not something Ford treats lightly and this car is definitely worthy of the iconic insignia,” says Ford Marketing Manager, Ben Pillay. “With performance, traction and precision to match far more exotic sports cars the Focus RS punches well above its weight.”

This new Focus RS is the product of Ford Team RS, headed by Jost Capito, a committed car enthusiast and racer.  Alongside Capito were a small team of dedicated performance car and motorsport engineering specialists, led by Chief Programme Engineer, John Wheeler, whose own expertise stretches over 20 years of Ford performance and motorsport vehicles.

From early in its development programme, the team set out to create a car with the poise, power, performance and precision to trade lap times with far more exotic vehicles and be a benchmark for performance and value for money.

The result is a car capable of lapping the legendary 20.8km Nurburgring Nordschleife repeatedly at speed and equally adept at cruising home afterwards, blending Ford Focus’ practicality with bespoke engineering, dynamics and a turbocharged, 2.5-litre Duratec engine.

Defining performance parameters of the new Focus RS began before the last Mk1 Focus RS left the production line.  Perhaps surprisingly, that work didn’t involve the name ‘RS’ at all, for the group was concentrating then on fine tuning the latest Focus ST model.

In developing the Focus ST, engineers reached 224kW and 320Nm torque with the 2.5-litre Duratec and the outstanding Focus chassis handled it comfortably

The team’s other benchmark was the previous-generation Focus RS, and here their own opinions and analysis was augmented by the views of owners. Ford remained in regular contact with RS owners and enthusiasts, their views helped to shape the new generation model.

The result was a short but complicated set of priorities: the pace and performance feel of the previous RS, but with even more power and greater stability; durable circuit performance, but with greater comfort for everyday driving.

From NVH to design, powertrain to safety, Ford specialists from across the engineering spectrum were involved with Focus RS, needing to understand quickly its requirements and attributes and the differences in philosophy between the ‘ST’ and ‘RS’ brands.

To illustrate the fundamental differences of approach between an ST and an RS;
While both models are highly developed for their roles they both have unique characteristics – ST is a balance of performance and refinement, but do not fit the attributes designers set for RS and vice versa.

The Focus RS was designed to fulfill the promise of being the ultimate production Focus.  In keeping with its heritage, RS is an even more performance-oriented vehicle than ST, developed in every detail with on-track performance of equal importance to on-road behaviour.  An exhaustive set of individual criteria was created for every aspect of the car’s performance, dynamics and durability, a process similar in scope to that required for a whole new carline.

“South Africans never had the opportunity to drive the previous model, we are therefore extremely excited to bring the new Focus RS to local shores,” continues Pillay. “There will be a very limited run of the hallowed car making it all the more exciting.”

The Ford RS comes with a 5 year / 90 000km Service Plan and a comprehensive 4 year/120 000km warranty with service intervals of 15 000kms. Customers will also benefit from 3 years of Roadside Assistance and a 5 year corrosion warranty.