2009 Ford Focus RS  Ford Focus RS

Ford Australia has elected to take on the Japanese hot hatch brigade by announcing that it will release its Focus RS hatch for sale in Australia at the end of the year.

The 224kW RS was launched in Europe some 18 months ago, but the Australian office has finally been able to get the green light to bring the three-door hatch to a buoyant Australian market that will afford it serious competition alongside the likes of Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evo, the VW Golf R and the Subaru WRX STI.

Powering the RS is a heavily modified version of the Volvo-sourced Focus XR5 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo petrol engine, boosted by a bigger turbo and enhanced exhaust system to improve power (224kW, up by 54kW) and torque (410Nm, up 90Nm).

In contrast to its rivals we mentioned earlier, the RS is powered through the front-wheels only, and Ford claims to have eliminated the typically resultant torque steer with its in-house front suspension configuration known as ‘RevoKnuckle’.

Ford also claims that its RS is significantly quicker – despite being 100kg heavier – than its XR5 cousin, sprinting from 0-100km/h in under six seconds and reaching a top speed of 250km/h.

The car certainly looks imposing, and its attractive large rear wing and sculpted diffuser look good alongside its bonnet vents, side skirts and big wheels. Three colour choices will be on offer: ‘ultimate green’, ‘performance blue’ and ‘frozen white’.

The cabin will be colour matched to the exterior, and features a host of gadgets including keyless entry and start, voice-activated bluetooth compatibility, xenon headlamps, and dual-zone climate control.

Just 315 of the models will be imported to Australia. With prices starting at AU$59,990 (plus onroad costs), it’s a little lofty when one considers that the RS is based on the current model Focus that will shortly be replaced by a new version next year…

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.