For Ford, RS is a badge that cannot be treated lightly. The weight of expectation for a new RS model is always immense. The last car to wear the Rallye Sport badge was the last generation Focus. It packed 300hp but was only front wheel drive. Purists were frustrated that the road going version of the Rally car did not drive all four wheels. Luckily Ford have listened and this new Focus RS promises to raise the game and break the mould.
This time built to sell world-wide and not a reflection of their Rally entries (new Ford Rally Cars are almost all Fiestas now), the new RS is the Jewel in the crown for Ford Performance until the GT hits the streets. Ford set out a clear mandate for the RS, it must be fast, fun and AWD. The fast bit is covered by a 2.3L EcoBoost engine from the Mustang but with 345hp. It drives all four wheels but up to 70% of the power can be sent to the rear wheels. 0-62 is despatched in a frankly insane 4.7 secs. All without the benefit of a super-fast flappy paddle gearbox. You don’t have to go back too far to find slower Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s.
To help with the fun element, Ford brought in their consultant tyre slayer, Ken Block of internet fame. Ken’s Expertise in getting a car to do silly skids and spins was used to develop the now-famous ‘drift mode’. This allows even the most ham-fisted individual to get the car all kinds of sideways. To satisfy the AWD requirement, Ford developed a bespoke drivetrain for the RS but one unlike most in it class. The system can send up to 70% of the power to the rear and up to 100% of that power to either side.
It will come as no surprise, the Focus RS is fast, really fast. That 0-60 time only tells part of the story. In gear the RS’ acceleration is ferocious. There is actually some lag on depress of the right pedal, but it only serves to add to the drama. Where cars like the Golf R are very fast but sort of uneventful, the RS feels frenetic. It urges you to wring every last horse from the 2.3l EcoBoost whenever possible. Unfortunately, this means the RS will get through quite a lot of fuel unless you have the restraint of a monk.
Launching the RS from standstill is as epic as you may think but what amazes me is how it launches on loose gravel. There is some initial wheel spin but it’s like you are being fired out of sling shot. The acceleration feels almost as rapid as it does on tarmac. Point to point there isn’t much that would keep up with the RS.
Read the full review on averagejoes.co.uk/auto-blog/ford-focus-rs-review-uk-drift-king/