As we continue to see tighter emissions standards for car manufacturers around the world, developing a performance vehicle that the everyday car enthusiast can enjoy without leaving that higher carbon footprint is an essential aspect of vehicle development. As such, it came as no surprise when we learned that the team at Ford Performance might introduce a fourth-generation of Ford Focus RS vehicles with that in mind.

The RS brand is hugely important to Ford and is recognized across the globe. — Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain

According to an story by AutoCar UK, it now appears that the next Focus RS could be part of a new crop of 48-volt mild-hybrid vehicles. And, with the advances in electronically driven technology, the new RS is predicted to boost its power rating to an estimated 400 horsepower and 425 lb-ft of torque.

While the current model of Ford’s hottest hatch — which delivers 350-horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged, 2.3-liter engine — is an engineering marvel in its own right, advanced electronic features are already part of the popular EcoBoost vehicle’s design. For example, the vehicle’s electronically controlled torque-vectoring system is controlled by a GKN electronic control unit which attaches to the top of the rear-drive unit and exchanges information with different parts of the vehicles ECU like the brake and engine controller. This allows the car to divert up to 100 percent of the available torque to the rear axle.

Another example of technology increasing performance is the debut of the Ford Performance’s electronically controlled Drift Stick. Developed and fully tested by engineers, the bolt-on and plug-in upgrade is the world’s first electronically controlled performance e-brake. The kit uses the AWD and ABS systems to open the rear-drive unit clutches and apply hydraulic pressure to lock the rear wheels, inducing drift with a simple pull of the lever.

What if a similar technology could divert the energy of battery-powered motor to where it was needed most? That certainly seems to fit in with the mission of the stories RS brand.

“The RS brand is hugely important to Ford and is recognized across the globe,” Ford of Britain chairman and CEO Andy Barratt recently said. “It has a special place in the hearts of UK Ford fans. This latest RS is the best we’ve ever produced.”

Could a hybrid version exceed the high bar set by today’s RS model? What are your thoughts on making the switch to the mild hybrid powertrain? Will the increase in horsepower, and more importantly the bump in torque that this technology delivers spark enough interest to keep the Ford RS badge legacy alive? Hit us up with your comments below.

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