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Ford Focus RS likely to return

Waiting game: The next-generation Ford Focus is likely to surface at the LA or Detroit shows before a mid-2018 launch.

Fourth-generation Ford Focus looks likely to include another RS, but not for a while

23 Nov 2017

FORD Australia says it is keen to see the return of the ballistic Focus RS and it appears that the hot hatch’s return is more likely than it appeared earlier this year.

The high-powered Focus RS – based on the third generation five-door Focus hatch – appeared very late in the vehicle’s life cycle, and will go out of production in March 2018.

It launched in Australian in mid 2016, and has yielded more than 1000 sales to date against original predictions of half that number. Another 500 cars, labelled as Limited Editions, are en route to Australia, and are the last vehicles that will be made available for sale locally.

Spy images of the fourth-generation Focus have been revealed this week, revealing a more stylised exterior and simplified interior – but the key to the future of the Focus RS is that the base car will likely continue to be built on top of Ford’s ageing C1 platform.

The flexible architecture of the C1 base will likely see Ford stretch the wheelbase, if not the overall length, of the Focus, while reports of a forthcoming high-riding crossover version means that the transmission tunnel will also be retained.

The tunnel is a crucial element of the RS’s all-wheel-drive armoury.

Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Martin Gunsberg would not be drawn on Ford’s plans for the RS, but indicated that it was a matter of when, not if.

“We'd love to have it as soon as we can, but, you know, there is a global cadence around these things,” he said. “When it becomes available, we'll put a hand up for it.”

Meanwhile, Mr Gunsberg pointed to the front-wheel-drive Focus ST as an example of the brand’s commitment to performance hatches.

“We were very deliberate today that you went through the ST and then you went to the RS and the Limited Edition (Focus RS),” he sad. “That was to help show what is available and that ST is still there and it's a fantastic vehicle.”

He denied that a hotter version of the ST might be released to fill the gap left by the departing RS.

“We never say never, but we don't have anything planned at this point,” he said.

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