- The Mk. 3 Focus RS - can it be topped?

The next generation Ford Focus RS is a car that people have been waiting for for a while now. A few sparks flew as well when it was suggested that it could be a hybrid with an electric rear axle. Now details about the next Focus RS have been revealed and, just like the outgoing model, it looks like it could be something pretty awesome!

The rumours that the next Focus RS will be AWD with the assistance of an electric rear axle have been confirmed - it will use GKN's eTwinster X system. The front wheels will be driven by what is expected to be the 2.3 Ecoboost turbocharged 4 cylinder petrol similar to what you can find in the latest Focus ST, whilst the rear axle will be powered by an electric motor with a multi-speed gearbox and torque vectoring capabilities. The axle also eliminates the need for a reverse gear, as it can reverse the car electrically from the rear axle (so long as there's enough juice in the batteries) Effectively, this makes the next Focus RS a twin engined AWD behemoth of a hot hatch, with an expected combined power output of over 400 hp!

Photo: GKN

Photo: GKN

The integration of electric power doesn't stop at the rear axle either. It's expected that the combustion engine will get a boost from some mild hybrid tech in the form of a 48 volt integrated starter-generator (ISG). This system will provide a little bit of extra power at lower revs, presumably to eliminate any possibility of turbo lag whatsoever.

Whether the Mk. 3 RS's "drift mode" will return hasn't been talked about, however. I certainly hope it makes a comeback, as gimmicky as it was! The torque vectoring capabilities of the new electric rear axle could make things very, very interesting in that regard...

The Mk. 4 Focus RS is expected to go on sale in time for the 2021 model year. Whether it can keep Ford's place near the top of the hot hatch tree is another matter, but it certainly looks like it can do that on paper! A new iteration of the RS making the most of the advances in electrification and hybrid technology could be a new benchmark in hot hatch performance as we go further and further into the era of electrification.

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