Ford Focus RS: the next generation goes hybrid

Published: 23 December 2019

► The new 2021 Ford Focus RS
► New artist's impression and scoop
► A 400bhp+ hybridised hot hatch

The next Ford Focus RS is entering the latter stages of development and the new January 2020 issue of CAR magazine spills the beans on the Blue Oval's new hyper-hatch.

Our artist's impression above depicts what the 2021 model year pocket rocket will look like - and our motoring sleuths have been busy assembling the lowdown on the hybridised, all-wheel drive techfest pocket rocket, too.

The new RS will remain all-wheel drive but with, quite literally, a twist: GKN’s e-Twinster electric four-wheel drive (below) means the Ford will drive its rear wheels via e-power alone while the potent combustion engine – expected to be good for some 400bhp with mild-hybrid assistance – drives the fronts. 

GKN e-Twinster tech bound for next Ford Focus RS hot hatch

It should make for excellent traction, and the ability to tweak torque vectoring (the ability to shuffle drive left to right across the same axle, and front to rear, in an instant). Expect hyper-alert handling as a result.

Ford Focus Estate long-term test

Ford Focus RS: a mild, but wild, hybrid

This will be the moment that Ford presses two contrasting buttons: the RS is tipped to include a 48-volt integrated starter-generator (ISG) for a gentle boost of all-electric power at low revs.

The outgoing Focus RS (below) was very much an all-combustion affair, repeating the formula from all three generations of fast Focus.

The ongoing Ford Focus RS: a high watermark for fast Fords

Adding electrical assistance is a smart way of assuaging the Blue Oval's green ideals, and complements recent launches like the Mustang Mach-E all-electric crossover - yet gives the chance to boost the RS's performance creds further. And we all know how fast Fords mustn't give any quarter on outright brawn and muscle...

So what will the new RS hot hatch look like?

Naturally, the next RS will look as extreme as a Focus can, inevitably ride harder than a faulty dodgem car and accelerate faster than most sports cars. That electrically-assisted all-wheel-drive system might even allow a continuation of Ford’s Drift Mode, to compete with the sideways-inclined Mercedes-AMG A45.

Ford has form with its 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, so we expect that unit to remain the basis of its next hardcore all-wheel-drive hot hatch. The last RS made 370bhp and 376lb ft in Mountune-fettled spec.

The next Focus RS will stand proud as evidence that electrification doesn’t have to mean the end of silliness.

CAR magazine lives with the last Ford Focus RS

By CAR's road test team

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