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Volkswagen may have pretty much invented the sub-compact car segment in North America, and yet the brand has shown very little interest in bringing its current small car to America. That will become a serious shame next year when the German auto giant unveils a hopped-up “R” badged version of its popular hatchback.
When you think of a hatchback with 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, good gas milage is probably far from being in the list of top priorities, but would you complain if it came with the package anyway?
According to a leaked spec sheet, Ford‘s upcoming Focus ST global hot hatch will start at $23,700 ($24,495 with the $795 destination charge).
Since its inception, Ford’s former Global Performance Vehicles chief Jost Capito intended for the Ford Focus ST to be at the top of its class, ”We want to have the best hot hatch in the sector. We want to be better than a VW Golf GTI, better than a Renaultsport Megane 250 – and we believe we have achieved that with a car that can be used day-to-day but is also extremely entertaining for enthusiastic drivers.”
Packed with the robust EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Focus ST produces 247-hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Offered with a 6-speed manual transmission, the driving enthusiast’s gearbox of choice, the Focus ST lays down a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds.
Although the latest hot hatch is certainly a lot of car for an affordable price, tacking on additional trim packages and equipment groups can quickly drive the price closer to $30k. Order codes ‘Equipment Group 201A and 202A charge for $2,505 and $4,840, respectively. A moonroof will cost $895, navigation is an additional $795, the special Tangerine Scream Tricoat Paint finish will cost another $495, and finally, an engine block heater will set you back another $35.
Depending on trim levels and combinations, a fully equipped Focus ST should fall close to $29,000, drawing it near basic Ford V6 Mustang territory. Despite the risk of overlap, these two sport oriented cars are distinct enough as to not risk the cannibalization of sales.
With the Focus ST set to arrive in dealers later this year, it’s only a matter of time before Ford releases a Fiesta ST hot hatch for the US as well.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Focus ST
In an interview, Ford vehicle line director Gunnar Herrman reported that development on the next-generation Focus RS hot hatch have been delayed to bump development of various other vehicles and its trims and variants, especially the Ford Kuga/Escape and the Ford Focus Electric.
Simply, Herrmann explained that “It’s just because we have other priorities to clean up and, effectively, we have to make a final decision on how we proceed [with the new RS].”
For the new Focus RS, the previous Volvo derived 2.5L, five-cylinder engine will be replaced with a new turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder producing approximately 320 horsepower. Like the previous generations of the Focus RS hatchback, the new RS will be front wheel drive, coping torque steer with the help of a limited slip differential as well as a Revoknuckle front suspension.
GALLERY: 2010 Ford Focus RS
[Source: World Car Fans]
Citroën has just released official images of its latest hot-hatch concept model set to premiere at the upcoming 2012 Geneva Motor Show. It’s images like these that convince us the North American market could really use some French metal.
In terms of hardware, the Citroën DS4 Racing concept receives the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine found in many vehicles in the Peugeot-Citroen line-up. Unlike the other models, the engine in the DS4 R has been tuned to produce an incredible 256-hp in DS4 R trim. At an astronomical 160-hp per liter, Citroën claims the ratio is the highest for any mass-production car. New geometry lowers the ride hight by 35mm compared to the standard DS4 and tracks are widened by 55mm in the front and 75mm at the back.
For aesthetics, the DS4 R Concept takes from Citroën’s earlier DS3 R, receiving a similar ground effects kit including sculpted bumpers with wider air intake, a subtle carbon fiber trim around the grille, a rear diffuser , wheel-arch extensions, and side sills.
While details around the new French hot-hatch are limited, it’s power output places the concept squarely against the VW Golf R and Ford Focus ST. More details on the DS4 R Concept will be available as we near the 2012 Geneva Auto Show.
GALLERY: Citroën DS4 R Concept
As rumored, Chevy has unveiled a new Sonic RS model with a long list of extras, improving the cars looks and handling. Plus, the new sport-tuned Sonic RS also comes equipped with the Chevrolet MyLink telematics system with a 7-inch color touchscreen.
Available only in the 5-door hatchback style, the car gets a new aero kit and RS grille, special mirror caps, a “sport exhaust” with a chrome finisher and 17-inch wheels. In addition, the car features a lower and stiffer suspension, increasing the handling potential of the sub-compact. RS models can be had in a choice of four colors: Victory Red, Summit White, Cyber Gray Metallic and Black Granite Metallic, which is new for 2013.
The interior updates are significant with new front sport seats, a new sport steering wheel (with a “race-inspired flat-bottom design), aluminum pedals, an RS specific trim color, a custom instrument panel and a special shift knob for manual transmission models.
Available only with the 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, the updates do not include any performance gains, with the car rated at 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. The good news is, that’s still the most of any sub-compact and manual transmission models get unique gear ratios while automatic models get a custom final drive ratio to help improve driving feel.
The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS will officially be revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
GALLERY: 2013 Chevy Sonic RS
The Fiat 500 was just an appetizer. This is the car Fiat fans have really been waiting for, the 500 Abarth. Built by the automaker’s in-house tuning division, the Abarth model gets a long list of upgrades, from a lower and stiffer suspension, to upgraded wheels and, most importantly, a turbocharged mated to the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine to deliver 160-hp. Find out more on the Fiat 500 Abarth in the video below.
GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth
Watch the video below:
For long one of the most beloved hot hatches in Europe, the Ford Fiesta ST Concept will be unveiled at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. Recently at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ford revealed a three-door ST concept, a sign that perhaps the hot-hatch sub-compact would not be offered in North America. This new five-door concept changes all that.
North America’s first Ford hot hatch since the 2004 Ford Focus SVT, the Fiesta ST concept’s mission at the LA show is to show Ford Motor Company’s global performance strategy. The Fiesta ST Concept combines dramatic and aggressive styling with a dynamic sports chassis and a high-performance powertrain that will deliver both power and impressive fuel economy with low emissions.
Using a 1.6 liter Ford EcoBoost engine that is in very close relation to the engine used in the Fiesta RS World Rally car, the Fiesta ST features twin independent variable camshaft timing and turbocharging to produce 180-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The fiesta will also be using a six speed manual transmission to ensure driving pleasure.
In terms of styling, the Ford ST utilizes a the bold and distinctive honeycomb mesh trapezoidal grille that’s found on the larger Focus ST. The rear features a serious twin-exit exhaust wrapped around by stylized diffuser. Finally, the Fiesta ST receives a lowered stance and a ST body kit with widened wheel arches that are snugly filled by 17 inch wheels and low profile tires.
According to Ford director of Global Performance Vehicles Jost Capito, “With the Focus ST, we promised to deliver uncompromised sports performance and styling to a truly global audience for the first time, without sacrificing Ford’s key value of quality, green, safe, and smart. With the Fiesta ST Concept, we are demonstrating that our global performance plan has legs. The Fiesta ST Concept shows in the most dramatic way possible that the qualities that define an ST are not limited to one model.”
If that’s not a 99 percent confirmation that Ford will in fact bring the Fiesta ST from concept to reality, we don’t know what is.
GALLERY: Ford Fiesta ST Concept
Looking like a kitted-out version of the standard 500, this car is certain to hit the sweet spot with enthusiasts, and is expected to come equipped with a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces as much as 160-hp – 59-hp more than the standard car. Other upgrades will include a stiffer suspension, larger brakes, bigger wheels and tires, plus a aggressive bodywork and plenty of graphics. With the car Fiat is looking to take the fight to its closes rival, the MINI Cooper S.
In an official release, the company says the car is, ” designed for track-day enthusiasts and driving-purists who want the ultimate high-performance small car with the pedigree of an exclusive Italian exotic.”
GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth
For the European market, the thought of another high performance Ford Focus has become banal, but North America is eagerly awaiting the launch of the first “Euro” hot hatch variant of the Focus, with the upcoming Ford Focus ST.
The original Focus SVT was based on a European model called the Focus ST170, but the new Focus ST marks the first time that there will be a single unified Focus performance model – with one exception. A Focus ST “wagon” (shown above) will be sold in world markets, but not North America.
With a 2.0L Ecoboost 4-cylinder making 250 PS and 265 lb-ft of torque, the Focus ST relies on an electronic torque-steer management system to put power down through a 6-speed manual gearbox via the front wheels. Big brakes and Recaro seats on offer, as are a specially tuned chassis, 18″ wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires with an asymmetric tread pattern. Stay tuned to AutoGuide for live shots of the Ford Focus ST starting on Tuesday, September 13th as coverage of the Frankfurt AutoShow kicks off.
Facebook is more than just a place where you can find out what your friends are up to – it’s also a great place to get the scoop on the latest auto innovations and news. And if you’re a Ford Focus Facebook fan, you’ll be the first to know about the all-new Ford Focus ST.
Become a fan of Ford on Facebook and you’ll be among the first to see exclusive video, pictures and learn about the Focus ST’s technology, performance and practicality. You’ll be privy to technical highlights and get an inside look at the driving experience you can expect from this sporty model. The Ford Focus fan page already boasts 300,000 fans, and they can access newly generated and previously unseen footage of Focus ST development cars – this includes testing and insights into the car’s features from members of the Global Performance Vehicle team.
Just some of the video clips you can watch showcase the Focus ST’s cool features, including enhanced Torque Vectoring Control, the advanced Electronic Stability Program and innovations applied to the 2.0-liter Ford EcoBoost engine.
“Our Facebook page allows us to reach out to enthusiasts around the world for the first time and share with them the final stages of development of the new Focus ST as it happens,” said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles. “This is Ford’s first truly global performance vehicle, and social media gives us a rare opportunity to show enthusiasts how this car is progressing, gives insight into its technologies and builds excitement in this community as we finalize Focus ST’s technical specifications.”
GALLERY: Ford Focus ST
With 305 turbocharged horsepower the Focus RS might just have been the ultimate hot-hatch. Now, for the first time, Ford has confirmed it will have a successor, arriving in late 2013 or early 2014 with at least 350-hp while sticking to its front-wheel-drive strategy.
Gunnar Hermann, Ford’s global chief of small cars, has gone on the record stating that the new Focus RS could create more power than even the limited edition RS500 model, which produced 350-hp from the turbocharged 5-cylinder engine borrowed from Volvo. It’s unlikely Ford will continue to use the Volvo-sourced engine and according to Herrmann engineers are working on extracting more power from the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that will power the Focus ST, which is set to make 247-hp.
According to Herrmann the new Focus RS will continue to be a front-drive model and will use a similar suspension setup to the previous model, which allowed for such a high amount of power to be effectively transmitted through the front wheels.
Now only one question remains: will this Focus RS finally make it to our shores?
[Source: Sydney Morning Herald]
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is the original hot-hatchback. While many have followed this recipe of putting a tuned engine in a practical hatchback, thanks to its ever evolving state, the GTI is still on the scene and getting faster and faster.
Now news from Europe suggests that the next generation GTI will just get a mild tweak of its current motor. Since the GTI we buy in North America has a different engine than what our trans-Atlantic cousins are driving around in, maybe this tweaked version of the EA888 (as the 2.0T 4-cylinder motor is known to the VW faithful) will finally make its way over to us.
Early guesstamates suggest that power output will be around 220-hp, which would bring it a step closer to the Golf R spec motor. Thanks to detailed remapping of the engine management system, the new version will also be cleaner than the out-going motor.
To handle its torque-steer, a new electronically controlled, mechanical locking differential will be added to the GTI and R models.
VW is also looking to put the “R” version of the Golf Cabriolet into production. However, no word yet if this model will ever be made available on our shores.
The eagerly anticipated high performance Volkswagen Golf R has been confirmed for sale in the U.S in early 2012.
With the cancellation of the GTI Edition 35, and the outgoing R32 beast, VDub enthusiasts will be extremely pleased to know that a hot-hatch version of the Golf is coming. Volkswagen’s product and technology communications manager Mark Gillies explained that the Golf R was always on the list for the U.S market, and is now in the final stages of compliance procedures.
The U.S version of the R will be a slightly detuned version of the model sold in Europe (boo!). But expect the R to crank out 250-hp from the 2.0-liter four cylinder engine coupled to a 4Motion all-wheel drive system. The U.S version will only feature the six-speed manual as opposed to the dual clutch DSG option – perhaps the better unit in this case. The R will get to 62 mph in 6.0 seconds, is electronically restricted to 155 mph and should get around 28 mpg.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Golf R
[Source: Motor Authority]
Volkswagen‘s hot new ‘Edition 35‘ version of the GTI will make the jump across the Atlantic, pleasing performance junkies and Vee-Dub fans across the nation. Recently unveiled at the 2011 Worthersee Tour GTI meet, 35th anniversary edition of the original hot hatch may not arrive right away… and it might get a name change too.
The reason for the changes has to do with the fact that the GTI hasn’t been on sale here for 35 years. Rather, it will only be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012. That being said, look for an ‘Edition 30′ model soon with the requisite badge changes on the fenders and seats.
Rest assured, however, the car will come with the rest of the goodies, including the 235-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter!
GALLERY: VW GTI ‘Edition 35′
[Source: Car & Driver]
Previous reports of a high-performance R version of the Volkswagen Polo sub-compact have been downplayed in the past, but the German automaker rejuvenated enthusiasm in the idea when it revealed the new Polo R WRC race car last week. With R decals displayed prominently across the car, it’s a clear hint that the Polo R idea still has wings.
Adding to the speculation are comments by VW board member Ulrich Hackenberg who said the chance of a Polo R street car was “likely.”
“You can see how the World Rally Championship programme would increase the probability of an R version of the base model [Polo],” he said in an interview with AutoCar.
Currently VW offers a Polo GTI using the company’s supercharged and turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. That same mill could be used to power the Polo R, upping its output from 177-hp to north of 200.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Polo GTI
Kia is forging ahead with plans to build a rival to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, complete with a turbocharged engine and class-leading driving dynamics.
The new car will be part of Kia’s effort to differentiate itself from Hyundai by focusing on performance and excitement. The GTI rival will likely be based on the well-received Cee’d, which is sold in Europe and other markets. Power will come from the Optima Turbo’s 2.0L 4-cylinder, although the engine could be detuned from the 274 horsepower it currently makes to around 230 horsepower.
Kia also confirmed that their new convertible will hit production in 2014, but that it will be based on the Soul, and thus front-wheel drive, rather than a rear-drive rival to the Mazda MX-5.