Ford considers all-wheel drive hybrid layout for next Focus RS
The next generation Ford Focus RS could get four-wheel drive and an environmental boost if plans to mount an electric motor on the car's rear axle become a reality.
The manufacturer has already confirmed it will build a new version of the ST model, with the car likely to get a tuned version of the 200bhp 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine already featured in the S-Max and Mondeo.
The RS version of the latest Focus is only in the conceptual stage, but Autocar has it from senior sources at Ford that the team behind the car are considering the benefits of the all-wheel drive hybrid layout already adopted by Peugeot on its 508 saloon.
By mounting an electric motor on the new Focus's multi-link rear axle, Ford would be able to dispense with the current car's thirsty 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine and retain the less powerful, but more economical EcoBoost unit it is expected to use in the ST.
The instant torque delivered by the motor would significantly boost the performance of the smaller petrol engine without increasing the car's CO2 emissions, and also offer the increased traction of a conventional four-wheel drive system without the mechanical complexity.
Of course, the size, weight and storage of a battery pack would also have to be taken into account, and Jost Capito, the head of Team RS, has always insisted that any model wearing the badge must have a link to an existing Ford motorsport product, as the current car does with the WRC version of the Focus.