We've known that Ford would be axing the Focus from its North American lineup for quite some time, but there was a lingering glimmer of hope that the hot hatch would continue to live in Europe or other parts of the globe—especially as a downright nasty Focus ST Wagon appeared in the Old World last year. However, Ford Europe just admitted that the Focus RS will be no more, as the Blue Oval couldn't have kept the pocket-rocket and meet the European Union's fleet-wide emission requirements of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2021.
French site Caradisiac reported the original story based on a meeting with executives from Ford Europe, claiming that "the fourth-generation of the Focus will not be entitled to an overpowered RS version. We must, therefore, be content with ST.” How poetic.
Reports initially speculated that Ford wanted to stick with the 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost from the third-generation RS, with the addition of a 48-volt hybrid system to help decrease emissions. The 360-horsepower four-banger would power the front wheels and the electric motor would power the rear, which together should have added up to something close to 400 system horsepower. Reporting from Autocar quoted a Ford executive saying that the mild hybrid wouldn’t get them where they needed to be with regard to emissions limitations in the European Union. That led to a plan that involved the 2.5-liter four-cylinder and e-motor from the Escape PHEV, which could have made the same 400 horsepower.
Ultimately, there were two final nails in the Focus RS' coffin: The big problem with the hybrid plan was the complicated nature of shoehorning a heavy and expensive hybrid system into a car that needed to be light and relatively affordable. That, and the fact that Ford Europe is closing six factories and cutting back on low-volume vehicles to save cash. Oh, the coronavirus pandemic with its accompanying economic disaster didn’t help the Focus’ case either. Caradisiac says that, for now, Ford’s ambitions will end with the Focus ST, but that the company could produce a hotter version of the car at some point in the future.
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