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Ford locks in Focus RS for Oz

Red hot hatch: Green will be the hero colour for Ford's Focus RS, which arrives here in October.

Piping-hot Focus RS hot-hatch due here within months, priced at under $60,000

Ford logo2 Aug 2010

FORD has finally answered the prayers of blue-blooded hot-hatch fans in Australia by announcing it will import the cracking Focus RS hot-hatch within months.

Officially due on sale Down Under in the fourth quarter of this year following its debut at the Sydney motor show on October 15, just 315 examples of the three-door Focus RS will be made available here, priced at just $59,990.

That will make it more affordable than its two most direct rivals in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo sedan (priced from $61,390) and Subaru’s upgraded Impreza STI, which is currently priced from $61,990 as a hatch but will be available in both sedan and hatch – and manual and automatic – forms when a facelifted version is launched here in September.

Announced just days after the first official ‘spy’ photos of Ford’s next-generation Focus were released, the sub-$60,000 pricetag makes the hottest ever Focus $23,500 more expensive than the five-door Focus XR5 Turbo.

27 center imageTo be available as a Ford (rather than FPV) model, the Focus RS will also be about $20,000 pricier than milder turbocharged small hatchbacks like the Mazda3 MPS ($38,435), Renault Megane RS Sport Cup ($43,990) and Volkswagen Golf GTI (from $38,990), and sedan and hatch rivals like the Impreza WRX (from $39,990) and Lancer Ralliart (from $43,890).

The most recent Focus RS competitor to go on sale in Australia is Volkswagen’s Golf R hatch, which costs $48,490 as a three-door and $49,990 as a five-door.

Ford says the strictly limited numbers will make the Focus RS an instant hit in Australia, where fans have waited more than 12 months for news of its local arrival.

“Customers, the motoring press, Ford enthusiasts and hot-hatch fans have all been constantly asking us about Focus RS and when it might be coming to Australia, so we're very pleased and incredibly excited to be able to confirm for everyone today that it's on its way and will be here soon,” said Ford Australia president and CEO Marin Burela today.

“The buzz and excitement surrounding Focus RS has spread rapidly around the globe since it was introduced in Europe early last year, winning a host of motoring awards and receiving widespread critical acclaim for its outstanding combination of high-performance road car technology and every day Focus practicality.

“Now it is poised to conquer the Australian market, setting a new benchmark for hot-hatch performance in this country and creating a whole new generation of performance car enthusiasts in the process,” said Mr Burela.

Australia’s Focus RS will be available in just one “comprehensively equipped” specification and only three exterior paint colours – ‘Ultimate Green’, the signature colour of the latest Focus RS, ‘Performance Blue’, the colour of the original Focus RS, and ‘Frozen White’.

As we’ve reported, Ford's latest Focus RS is powered by a version of Volvo’s turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine which at 224kW is more powerful than the XR5’s 166kW turbo-five engine but less potent than the 257kW engine that motivates Europe’s limited-edition RS500.

Also offering some 440Nm of torque from just 2300rpm, the front-wheel drive Focus RS comes with unique sports suspension incorporating Ford’s patented ‘RevoKnuckle’, a Quaife automatic torque-biasing helical limited-slip front differential, high-performance braking system and tyre pressure monitoring for its specific Continental tyres on 19-inch alloy wheels.

All this is wrapped in an exclusive bodyshell featuring unique panels, flared wheel-arches, a custom bonnet design with integrated twin louvres, sports side skirts, more aggressive front and rear bumpers, and a bespoke twin-blade rear spoiler.

Standard equipment for the Focus RS, which will be only the second current-generation Focus to come to Australia from Europe after the Focus coupe-convertible, will include automatic levelling Xenon headlights with washers, rear parking sensors, partial-leather Recaro sports seats, dual-zone climate-control, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, keyless entry/starting, Bluetooth phone connectivity with voice control and an eight-speaker/six-CD Sony sound system with USB connectivity.

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