Ford will leverage the benefits of hybrid technology to make the next-generation Focus RS quicker than its predecessor while staying on the good side of emissions regulations, according to a recent report in British magazine Car. The gasoline-electric super-hatch is tentatively due out in select markets by the end of 2020.
Engineers are sticking with the basic formula that made the previous fastest Focus (pictured) a hit all over the world, but they're putting an electrified spin on it. The model will carry on with a turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine shared with other Ford models, and it will continue to offer all-wheel drive, but there won't be a mechanical connection between the front and rear axles. Instead, Car learned the turbo-four will spin the front wheels, while a compact electric motor developed and provided by British supplier GKN will zap the rear wheels into motion. This is a similar concept to the one used by other all-wheel-drive hybrids.
As with the current RS, all-wheel drive will improve traction, while allowing enthusiasts to reap the rewards of dynamic torque vectoring. And, of course, the technology will keep fuel economy in check. Car's unnamed sources peg the powertrain's output at 400 horsepower, and they added the driver will have the ability to summon a brief electric boost by pushing steering wheel-mounted button labeled RS.
Transmission options remain unconfirmed. The last-generation, 350-horsepower model came exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, but the hybrid model could receive a dual-clutch automatic, according to a separate report published in 2018 by Autocar.
While the rumor sounds credible, Ford hasn't commented on it, and it hasn't shed light on what it will use to power the next-generation Focus RS. It hasn't even confirmed the model's existence. Either way, we're unlikely to see the hot hatch in the United States because the standard Focus disappeared from our shores as part of Ford's move away from hatchbacks and sedans. Official details will emerge in early 2020, and we could see the Focus RS break cover before 2021.