It appears Ford’s been listening to fans. The automaker has implemented some upgrades on its Focus RS for 2018 after evaluating feedback on social media.
The upgrades, which include enhancements in the mechanical and styling departments, are being introduced on a limited-edition model aptly named the Focus RS Limited Edition. Just 1,000 of them will be built for the United States with a further 500 pegged for Canada.
Crucially, Ford points out that this will be the last chance to order the current Focus RS in North America. There’s a new generation of the Focus just around the corner, though its own RS variant is likely a few years out still.
The big news is the addition of a standard Quaife limited-slip differential on the front axle of the 350-horsepower hot hatch. It limits torque delivered to a particular front wheel when slip is detected, redistributing the extra torque to the wheel with more traction to improve grip levels and stability through corners.
It also enhances braking capability. Under heavy braking, the differential’s torque transfer works in reverse to transfer torque away from the locking wheel. This enhances deceleration, delaying the intrusion of electronic ABS systems and allowing drivers to brake later and harder.
The limited-slip differential integrates seamlessly with the Focus RS’s Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive system which splits torque between the front and rear axles as well as between each of the rear wheels. The rear-biased system normally sends around 70 percent of the torque to the rear axle. Via a pair of electronically controlled clutch packs, torque reaching the rear axle is then split between the rear wheels.
In the styling department, there’s a choice of Race Red or Nitrous Blue exterior colors. Both colors come with a contrasting gloss black roof and side mirror caps. The rear roof spoiler also features a gloss black finish, with blue RS logos on the side wings. Also standard are 19-inch forged alloy wheels with blue RS center caps.
From the cockpit, the door handles, handbrake lever and turbo boost gauge surround are wrapped in a carbon fiber finish, while equipment from the RS2 Package is standard. The list includes a heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors, voice-activated navigation, and leather-lined Recaro seats with suede microfiber inserts, RS logos, plus heating and electronic adjustment.
Deliveries of the Focus RS Limited Edition commence in late 2017. Pricing will be released closer to the market launch.
Note, a mysterious Focus RS prototype sporting new hood vents has been spotted at the Nürburgring in recent months. It’s possible the prototype is for an extra-hardcore variant along the lines of 2010’s Focus RS500, though based on Ford’s comments any such model is likely not bound for the U.S.