Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
February 17, 2016

With 350 horsepower and its new all-wheel-drive system, the 2016 Ford Focus RS promises awesome performance in all conditions. And by “all” we mean whatever you can throw at the hot hatch! Along with summer fun on asphalt and dirt, enthusiasts can opt for a fully certified winter tire kit for kicking up the action in the snow.

Ford told Mustang-360.com the Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package promises amazing winter traction with a unique set of wheels and tires designed to slice and dice through the white stuff. “We started this project knowing what our RS customers really want out of their cars,” says Adam Wirth, chassis supervisor, Ford Performance. “This tire package allows RS owners to continue spirited driving even in the snow.”

Ford Performance developed this package so the most demanding customers can outfit their RS with optimum equipment for winter conditions. “The challenge was that normal vehicle testing procedures require certification with production wheels and tires; winter-only standards had never been authored,” said Wirth. “To bring this package to owners, the first step Ford Performance had to undertake was creating a new set of standards specifically suited for brutal winter conditions.”

Ford engineers went to work, putting the RS through a rigor of exercises in extreme conditions including frigid cold and snow, both in Northern Michigan and Sweden, to guarantee the quality and performance Ford customers expect. “Engineers and technicians tested a wide variety of high-performance winter tire and wheel setups to determine the optimum combination for ride, handling and performance in various wintry conditions,” added Wirth.

Getting the nod are 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tire mounted to new 18x7.5-inch wheels, which look very similar to the base Focus RS option, but is finished in sparkle silver to hide salt spray. The set is complete with tire pressure monitoring sensors and center caps fully mounted and balanced and ready for installation at the dealer.

In contrast to tires designed for dry conditions, the winter wheel and tires are narrower, which actually provides improved snow traction. They’re also shorter so owners can fit chains if necessary.

“We fully expect our more extreme-weather customers to take advantage of the ability to use snow chains,” Wirth says a smirk. “Settings are completely driver-preference”, notes Wirth, “Customers are able to utilize all four drive modes to suit their driving style in winter conditions.”

Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package is available only in North America—and is listed as a $1,995 option. For customers in Canada, the package comes standard on Focus RS. Package is certified to Ford Performance standards; arrives at dealerships ready for installation.