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2016 Ford Focus RS: Geneva Auto Show

author photo by Josh Sadlier March 2015

What Is It?

The 2016 Ford Focus RS is Ford's answer to street-legal rally cars such as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru WRX STI, and it's coming to America for the first time in the RS model's illustrious history.

The spec sheet for this 4-door hatchback reads like a car enthusiast's fantasy. Forget about the front-wheel-drive layout in the lesser Focus ST; the RS has standard all-wheel drive with torque vectoring for precise cornering control, and up to 70 percent of drive torque can be sent to the rear wheels. Under the hood is the corporate 2.3-liter 4-cylinder turbo that's familiar from the Lincoln MKC and the Mustang, with output "in excess of 315 horsepower," according to Ford. The suspension has received a thorough update, benefiting from stiffer springs, bushings and anti-roll bars, along with 2-mode adaptive dampers. Stunning 19-inch wheels, Michelin max-performance tires, big brakes and aggressive yet tasteful exterior styling cues complete the delectable package.

Oh, and lest we forget, the 2016 Ford Focus RS essentially only comes one way from the factory, with a proper 6-speed manual gearbox and three alloy pedals, complemented by a flat-bottom steering wheel, heavily bolstered Recaro sport seats and an exclusive 3-gauge cluster atop the center stack. Unlike past Focus RS models, however, this one also offers surprising luxuries such as an 8-in touchscreen interface, premium Sony audio and even a rearview camera.

How Much?

TBA. We're thinking $35,000 or so.

When Can You Get It?

Expect the Focus RS to hit American dealerships before the end of 2015.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

It's basically a rally car that you can drive every day, and it's more refined than most cars of this ilk. Ford's going all out with this one.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution -- The Evo's status for the future is unclear, but with its blistering turbocharged acceleration and invincible all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, it'll always be a hero in this segment.

2015 Subaru WRX STI -- Redesigned with a more capable suspension than ever, the STI is a serious driving tool, and there's nothing like the thrum of that turbo 2.5-liter boxer 4-cylinder.

2015 Volkswagen Golf R -- This hot new VW will be the closest rival to the Focus RS, boasting similar power output, AWD and comparably continental refinement on the inside.

Used Subaru WRX STI Hatchback -- The previous-generation STI was criticized for excessive body roll and understeer, but that's nothing that a few aftermarket suspension tweaks can't fix. A used STI is tempting if you want a hatchback body style instead of the current model's sedan setup.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Ford Focus RS: Geneva Auto Show - Autotrader