Finely Fettled Ford Focus RS
Price From $50,990
They might be having a few cylinder head reliability issues right now but that will be fixed and doesn’t diminish from the fact that Ford’s Focus RS is arguably THE performance car buy currently on the market.
It’s a full blooded hot rod hatch capable of staying with sporty cars costing twice, three times as much.
Quick in a straight line, the RS is more about cornering, steering and braking than anything else and it does all three to a high level.
You won’t drive an RS long before being in awe of how it feels…. Sharp as a tack.
And all that bull about drift mode has died a natural death because it doesn’t matter a hoot in the greater scheme of things. The RS has such good manners it will keep you out of trouble in the first place.
A second bite of the cherry last week behind the wheel of a current RS simply underlined my respect for the car.
The 2.3-litre, direct injection twin scroll turbo engine sounds great, the steering is almost above reproach apart from the terrible turning circle, the Brembo brakes are astonishing and the dynamics package absolutely nails it for overall sporty handling and control.
The test vehicle had been flogged from pillar to post by various people but still felt strong.
To be nit-picking, engine performance could be a little stronger to keep the likes of Subaru’s WRX STi firmly in the rear view mirror not to forget the Honda Civic Type R but its a front wheel drive.
Focus RS uses various aids for the dynamics including torque vectoring that sends power to the wheels with the most grip.
But with all the luxury, safety and performance kit, it’s a tad on the heavy side at 1524kg.
Wonder if there’s a stripped out motorsport edition in the pipeline at say 1200kg.
That would fairly rip.
I like the fact that it still scores an EU6 emissions rating and a five star crash rating.
There’s plenty of handy stuff inside too including Recaro sports, decent satnav and audio and a cockpit styled dash in front of the driver. Multi driving modes too.
I like the looks especially in the hero blue colour with the black (dark grey)alloys.
Ford leveraged its vast resources internationally for this German engineered and made car picking all the good bits including an Ecoboost engine from Mustang with the necessary modifications to withstand potential motor sport applications.
It’s in limited numbers but you can still buy a new one which is surprising really when you look at what you get.
Beats an autonomous electric car any day.
➔ Strong performance
➔ Impressive fuel economy
➔ Slick gearbox
➔ Passes EU6 emissions
➔ Engine stop/start saves fuel
➔ Firm but no too firm ride in some modes
➔ Sticky Michelin tyres
➔ Awesome Brembo brakes
➔ Decent amount of kit
➔ Looks outstanding
NOT SO MUCH
➔ `Forged’ kit should be standard
➔ Terrible turning circle
➔ Worrying cylinder head gremlin
➔ Could sound even sharper
ENGINE: 2.3-litre turbo direct injection four cylinder 257kW/470Nm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual AWD
THIRST: 7.7 litres/100km
0-100KMH: 4.7 seconds
ALTERNATIVES: Subaru WRX STi $50890, Honda Civic Type R $50,990, VW Golf R $52,990.