The 2016 Ford Focus RS is not in production. (Not yet, anyway.) That sort of explains why this production-spec 2016 Ford Focus RS cost something in the area of half a million dollars.

The Focus is a global platform, and the RS is correspondingly global as well. For three years Ford has been working on this RS, with just about everyone at the company rooting for it to make it to their market. It wasn't a drama-free development process, as Ford's Omar Odeh explained to me today at the Classic Car Club Manhattan. Other programs at Ford needed money, and it was difficult at times to justify the costs on this low-volume niche vehicle. But the Focus RS triumphed and is making it to production.

Finally, America will be getting the RS on our dealership floors, but not yet. That's why this very car is interesting.

You're looking at a prototype car brought up to production spec, as Odeh explained to me. It's the only driving RS in the country, the only production-level Focus RS in the world.

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It means that while everything has to look like it came off of a production line, there is no actual production line to make it. This leads to a lot of one off work.

The rear bumper, for instance, is hand-formed carbon fiber.

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The stitching on the seats? Again, that's all been done by hand.

Lord knows how much it cost for them to do the four-layer paint, twice baked and twice clear-coated.

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Unlike the car that rolled out at the Geneva Motor Show, everything on this particular RS is functional. The all wheel drive, with twin clutch packs at the rear, works. The 2.3 liter turbo four cylinder under the hood (that Ford did not allow anyone to open) works. It might not have the final engine map, and it might only have around 300 horsepower at the moment, but it runs and drives and will assuredly smoke all four tires.

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The drift mode that everyone is talking about is actually not yet on this car. Apparently it was one of the last additions ("Did Ken make some late demands?" I asked). I did get to see how it would work. It was the least they could do.

Of course, there isn't actually a "drift button." You cycle through the 'drive mode' button on the center console, which gives you a number of different modes to scroll through on the instrument panel to activate it. I would show you a picture of what that looks like, but it wasn't quite up to final look, so we weren't allowed to shoot it.

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I wish I knew what the icon will be for the drift mode, but it wasn't there. If you haven't finalized that yet, Ford, might I suggest a little picture of Ken Block screaming, or perhaps a little icon of an RS powersliding past an STI. Not sure how you'd do that, but I'm sure you could make it happen.

It's absolutely incredible that the Focus RS is coming to America. After seeing how much was done custom for this particular example, I understand how wild it is that this individual car is here in America.

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Photo Credits: Nick Stango/Jalopnik


Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.