It didn’t enjoy a long life, especially here in North America, and it didn’t make it through that short time span without an embarrassing engine defect, but good luck finding someone who’d turn down a hoon session in a Ford Focus RS.
As the king of all hot hatches, the Focus RS gave enthusiasts a sensible five-door for shuttling their kids to school and the ability to shred four tires into coleslaw on the trip home. Well, get ready to pick up a shovel. The Focus goes into its grave on April 6th, and the model line’s future has never looked shakier.
Built at Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany assembly plant, the final iteration of the AWD monster will be a 50-unit run bound for the UK.
Ford of Britain will offer just a handful of Focus RS Heritage Editions, each painted Tief (Deep) Orange, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Escort RS1600 — the brand’s first RS-badged car. After that … who knows? Given Ford’s current heading, relatively unprofitable cars like the Focus, currently in the grip of declining sales, could disappear from the market before too long. That, or return as a crossover-style vehicle, perhaps powered solely by electrons.
A next-generation Focus looms, but Ford punted assembly of future North America-bound models to China last year, rather than build them in a politically uncertain Mexico. Future Focus cars won’t have nearly the diversity of models past, either, as Ford’s streamlining plan allows for far fewer buildable combinations.
You’ll never be able to buy one here, but it’s worth noting that the Focus RS’ final examples benefit from content upgrades, while the already tuned 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder goes in for another testosterone treatment, this one provided by Mountune. Final specs are 370 horsepower and 376 lb-ft — an increase of 20 hp and 26 lb-ft.
North America’s final taste of the RS came last year when, for the 2018 model year, Ford offered U.S. customers 1,000 limited-edition models. Another 500 went to buyers north of the border. Since then, a deluge of complaints saw the automaker call back the entirety of its RS models to replace head gaskets that couldn’t keep coolant away the EcoBoost’s combustion chambers.
It’s possible we’ll see another RS once production of the next-gen Focus gets underway, but it’s an increasingly safe bet that such a variant would be the model’s last.
[Images: Ford Motor Company]