With its 345hp engine, permanent intelligent all-wheel drive and integrated drift mode for sideways cornering like Ken Block, the Ford Focus RS is already one of the best driver's cars on sale today at any price. But to ensure that it maintains its grip with hardcore hot hatchback fans, the company is giving it a mechanical limited slip differential (LSD).
That might not sound like the most exciting piece of automotive news, even for the most car-obsessed consumer, but this little improvement to the front axle will go a long way to making the Focus RS even more of a blast.
The upgrade means that torque from the engine can be taken from or given to either of the front wheels to increase grip, meaning that drivers will be able to push the car further without coming unstuck.
"For hardcore driving enthusiasts, [it] will make it even easier to carry speed through a corner on the track, and maximize acceleration on the way out," said Ford Performance Director, Europe, Leo Roeks. "The new setup also delivers greater mechanical stability and control when braking hard, and will help drivers set the car up for power-slides using Drift Mode."
European customers will be able to spec their Focus RS with the LSD at the point of purchase, while in the US, the new kit is one of the standout features of a special limited edition commemorative model. Capped at 1500 examples (1000 for the US and 500 destined for Canadian customers), the 2018 model year Focus RS will also come as standard with the most commonly requested optional extras, including carbon fiber interior trim and leather-wrapped Recaro racing seats, as well as a choice of two exclusive exterior paint finishes.
"I'm very excited that we're bringing this limited-edition vehicle to North America," said Henry Ford, Ford Performance North America marketing manager. "We have spent a great deal of time listening to our customers, speaking to owners' club members, reading comments and suggestions on enthusiast websites, and even studying various forum Photoshop renderings."
And the reason for going to so much trouble is because 2018 will be the last model year of the current generation Focus RS in North America and so the company is saying goodbye to it in style.