In Paris, a Small Ford Focus with 'Muscle'

Ford Focus RSSmall, smart cars have long been popular in Europe. Nick Kurczewski send a message to the NYTimes that the Ford Focus may be an inexpensive, decent and inoffensive compact in America, but in Paris, the Focus RS is a credentialed luxury compact, with a price tag to boot.

Like the paint job, the performance of the RS is not for the faint of heart. A turbocharged, 301-horsepower 2.5-liter 5-cylinder is under the car’s vented hood. Snick your way through the quick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission, and the RS needs only 5.9 seconds for the sprint from zero to 60 miles an hour. Top speed is 163 miles an hour.

This is a Ford? I suppose it’s all a question of local, cultural priorities. The far more advanced Euro version of the ford Focus will hit stateside in 2011. Nick writes that there’s no word on whether this “wild child” is coming along for the ride.