When it comes to hot hatchbacks, the formula is basically airtight: Add horsepower, sporty looks, and performance-enhancing features to make a great car better.
In the case of the next-generation Ford Focus RS, which was unveiled officially today, the hot hatch game was just significantly upped. And the best part? It's confirmed for (eventual) sale in the United States, as part of a strategy to globalize the RS moniker.
Focus RS will step in where the Focus ST, a competitor to the Volkswagen GTI and Subaru Impreza WRX, leaves off. Think of it as Ford's salvo into the realm of Golf R and WRX STi.
Standard equipment will be the same turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine found on the 2015 Ford Mustang, which Ford claims will have "in excess" of 315 horsepower. All-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual transmission will also be standard, to please enthusiasts and properly channel the power from the hot turbo four.
Unlike the Mustang, the new vehicle utilizes a twin-scroll turbo with a larger compressor for better airflow and a larger intercooler. Ford said it hasn't ruled out adding more powerful versions of the third-generation vehicle eventually.
"Performance vehicles are a growing part of the industry," Ford Americas president Joe Hinrichs said at a press conference today. "The RS is an extension of that."
The interior will build on the style of the Focus RS, featuring a flat-bottomed steering wheel with a leather trim, a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen with Ford's latest generation of Sync, and front Recaro bucket seats.
Other standard features include a pair of electronically controlled clutch packs, Brembo brakes, and 19-inch wheels and superslick tires. In Europe, RS customers will have the option of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, though the automaker hasn't said whether or not those tires will reach the U.S. yet.
The Focus RS will be available in four different colors: Absolute Black, Frozen White, Nitrous Blue and Stealth Gray.
"The RS captures the promise of our brand," Ford of Europe boss Jim Farley said. "Great cars that are affordable."
The Focus RS will debut to the public at the upcoming Geneva auto show, ahead of release "early next year" as a 2016 model, according to the company.