Now that the Focus RS is finally here, hot hatch enthusiasts are already looking for ways to make it even more extreme, and aftermarket specialists are more than happy to oblige. While modifying something that already has 350 horsepower and the same amount of torque in order to “go further” may not be everyone’s cup of octane, there is no escaping the fact that the fastest production Focus in the world makes for one hell of an ideal platform from which to build off of.
Tuners have been atwitter about the RS and its twin-scroll turbocharger ever since word came down that it would feature four different drive modes and the ability to hit 60 in under five seconds. It’s a lightning quick, six-speed hatchback that begs to be built, and since the Brembo brakes and tricky suspension are already top notch in every way, the go-fast side of the equation seems to be the most logical place to start.
Enter Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE), and its devout interest in making fast cars even faster. Over the years the Houston, Texas based tuning shop has been applauded for its ability to take cars like the Mustang, Camaro, Viper, and Hellcat and make them more insane than they already are. This is the same shop that was responsible for building the world’s fastest open-top sports car, the Venom GT, and that turned Ford’s Raptor into a 1,000-horsepower “Velociraptor.”
But the Focus RS is a a bit of a divergence for the torque-hungry tuner, because of all the extreme machines that are listed on Hennessey’s website, this is the only one listed with half the number of cylinders. That fact shouldn’t be an issue though, because where the RS is lacking in displacement and V8 roar, it makes up for it in tuning potential, and while Hennessey has already massaged the motor to over 400 horsepower, more is on the way.
The first round of tuning adjustments for the Focus RS will reportedly be ready before September lets out, and based upon projected power gains, Hennessey is already calling the kit the HPE400. OK, so technically it says 405 horsepower on the company’s website, but with 425 pound-feet of torque getting untapped, we hardly feel like there’s room to complain.
In order to safely get to this level, Hennessey has recalibrated the Ford’s engine management software, added a stainless steel exhaust mid pipe with an electronic dump valve, and put a free-flowing air filter on the intake side. Those three things, plus a set of “HPE400” and “Hennessey” badges will set you back a cool $2,995, and for $4,995 they will install everything for you and throw it on the dyno.
According to Hennessey Performance’s website, in the future they “will be offering [more] high-performance upgrade systems for the 2016 Ford Focus RS.” So expect full engine management tuning options instead of just a reflash, complete high-flow air induction systems, beefier intercoolers, stainless downpipes and exhaust kits, turbo upgrades, and every other imaginable tweak that hot hatch enthusiasts pine for.
Naturally, you have to be fine with voiding your warranty right out the gate when you plop down cash for kits like these, and while Hennessey is one of the first companies to develop aftermarket options for the RS, it certainly won’t be the only one. Keep your eyes turned toward SEMA this year, because from the way things are shaping up, it looks like this practical and potent hot hatch will be making a strong presence in Las Vegas come November.