Citing stricter emissions regulations, Ford has ruled out an RS version of the fourth-generation Focus. The silver lining is that Blue Oval enthusiasts still have the ST in hatchback and estate versions with manual and dual-clutch automatic transmissions. Well, sadly not in the United States. As for those who would rather have all-wheel drive and even more power from a hot hatchback, the best way to go would be an Mk3 RS.
Mind you, this isn't an ordinary range-topping version of the previous-gen Focus. Its turbocharged 2.3-litre petrol engine has been massaged to extract 440 bhp and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque. Details about how the four-pot unit was upgraded are unclear, but we do know German aftermarket shops RH Renntechnik and XBM Tuning contributed to the power gains.
YouTuber AutoTopNL with an insatiable need for speed took the hot hatchback on the Autobahn and pushed it to the maximum on an unrestricted section. It got up to a respectable 176 mph (284 km/h), which isn't too shabby for what it's still a compact family hatchback at its core. Truth be told, the GPS-verified velocity was slightly lower, at 171 mph (275 km/h).
Perhaps more interesting is the gear change from fifth to sixth at nearly 155 mph (250 km/h) while the Focus RS kept on pulling to unlock a few more mph. It goes without saying that the car no longer had the factory-installed top speed limiter programmed to kick in at 165 mph (265 km/h).
That EcoBoost engine has great tuning potential to unleash ludicrous amounts of power. British shop Mountune sells a 513-bhp package, but it did crank up the four-pot to an insane 684 hp on the dyno, thus almost doubling the stock output.
A noisy performance Focus in Europe will be no more by the end of the decade as Ford's passenger car branch on the Old Continent will go EV-only by 2030. In fact, Ford of Europe CEO Stuart Rowley has announced the transition could take place even sooner. In the meantime, the "warm" ST just got a facelift on Euro land, but without bringing more power for the 280-bhp engine.