While it’s no Mustang, the Ford Focus RS has a legion of dedicated fans and owners all its own. The automaker knew it had to deliver a one-of-a-kind driving experience, while still paying homage to the powerful hot hatches that preceded it. The process of developing the RS has been recorded in an eight-part documentary called Rebirth of an Icon, and the last episode has landed, albeit with a predictable ending.
In the last episode Ford’s Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair couldn’t sign off on the Focus RS as-is, citing three big issues that needed to be resolved. Chief among these issues was the feel of steering in “Normal” mode, braking in moderate-to-hard situations, and the lack of pops and burbles from the exhaust. The RS team was given six weeks to fix these issues before Raj came back for a second test drive, and chance for the green light.
As you no doubt guessed, the Focus RS passed with flying colors this time around, avoiding the financial ramifications of delayed production or a disappointing experience. This sets the stage for Ford to begin production of the 2016 Focus RS sometime in the next few weeks, with deliveries in Europe beginning in the first quarter of next year. It took two and a half years for the Focus to go from concept to production, and this documentary has brought about some interesting revelations about the Ford design process. Specifically, just how much input and control over a new vehicle a few key people can have, whether it be Raj with his pops and burbles, or Ken Block and his Hoonigan instincts.
Now all that’s left is to drive one for ourselves.