257kW confirmed for Focus RS

When Ford promised us the new 2016 Focus RS would be a serious driving machine, it wasn’t fibbing. Featuring essentially a rebuffed version of the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine showcased in the 2015 Mustang, Ford today confirmed a 257kW maximum power output for its hottest hatch yet.

At its 2015 Geneva motor show debut, the Blue Oval had said only that it would have ‘in excess of 235kW’. This new, higher power figure confirmed today puts it firmly ahead of the latest Honda Civic Type R – the RS will now enter the ring with Audi’s new RS3 in one corner, and Mercedes’ A45 AMG in the other.

Just to recap, for the Mk3 RS, Ford has ditched its front-wheel drive RevoKnuckle system in favour of an all-wheel drive set-up with dynamic torque vectoring, which Ford says will allow for lightning-quick acceleration during launch control and nimble agility through the corners.

Using a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger, a larger intercooler to maximise charge density, a less restrictive intake design and a large-bore high performance exhaust system, Ford has been able to increase the 2.3-litre four-cylinder’s power, and not at the expense of turbo lag, it claims.

The maximum 440Nm of torque arrives between 2000 and 4500rpm, Ford announced today, while an overboost feature allows for 15 seconds of full-bore torque under hard acceleration. Although no performance figures have been released thus far, you can expect a mid-to-high four second time during the 0-100kph sprint if the other hyper-hatches with similar performance are anything to go by.

Other novelties on the new RS include a Drift Mode, essentially allowing for controlled sideways action. When selected, the car will send most of the power to the rear wheels. Although this isn’t something new, crucially what the new system can do is send power left to right on the rear axle, enabling the everyday driver to sustain an angle similar to Ken Block’s shenanigans. Or so Ford says. Other modes include Normal and Track for those who want to remain dignified – and legal – on the roads.

The new Focus RS make its first dynamic appearance at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Tackling the hillclimb will be Gymkhana legend and professional rally driver Ken Block. Where he’ll no doubt be driving something like this: