Since the first Focus RS was launched back in 2002, die hard fans of the blue oval across the world have been shouting, screaming and eagerly awaiting a model that sits alongside performance Ford’s of the past with 4wd, bulging bodywork and a turbo big enough to inhale a small child.
14 years and two generations of RS later. Ford has finally done it.
However, does it live up to the RS name adorned by its ancestors?
The Mk3 Focus RS was released in early 2016 and raised the bar in the world of hot hatchbacks with an astonishing 345bhp, 4wd and the technical wizardry of GKN’s torque vectoring drive line and world renowned ‘Drift mode’. However, as often found in the lucrative world of the automotive industry, it’s never long before something else comes along and knocks you off the top spot, and in this case by the all new Civic Type R and long term rival, the revised Golf R.
In a last ditch attempt to put the competition in it’s place before production ceased, Ford released a couple of limited Edition models consisting of only 500 Nitrous Blue and 300 Race Red models that are adorned with a whole host of visual extras alongside the pièce de résistance, a Quaife Limited Slip Differential.
Yes, the RS Edition is still the same car underneath, utilising the revised turbocharged 2.3L EcoBoost unit first used in the Mustang which produces 345bhp and 357lb ft respectively putting down a 0-62 sprint time of 4.7 seconds.
As you awaken the beast, you’re greeted by a soft burble that soon erupts into a hefty bark upon applying the throttle, reminiscent of the Group B rallying glory days. The RS trundles around town and through traffic sedately, that is however until you dial the drive mode beyond the realms of ‘Normal’ and into the unknown. Well, not quite unknown but Sport, Track and the illusive Drift mode await drivers looking to further their driving experience.
Upon deciding how devilish you feel that day, open up the throttle and a barrage of roars, cracks and bangs erupts from the Focus’s back end as if you have summoned Beelzebub himself. Rocking around in Track mode is where the Focus really comes to life with the RS’s senses heightened giving the driver more control over damping, traction, steering and the AWD system.
Put the power down and you can feel the front differential come to life pulling the nose in tight as well as eliminating dreaded torque steer. In turn, this gives the RS Edition a more four wheel drive like balance rather than the standard RS that retains push from the rear characteristics.
On the outside a new set of 19 inch anthracite cast alloy wheels sit in each corner, whilst the large front Brembo brake callipers lurking behind have been given a lick of Nitrous Blue paint. The roof line is wrapped in a matt-black foil which contrasts well against the black spoiler and door mirror covers.
Modern Ford owners will slip straight in and feel right at home with a case of deja vu in the Focus RS. Ok, yes there’s a stack gauge sitting smack bang in the middle of the dash, carbon fibre trims, an RS branded steering wheel and the figure hugging Recaro ‘race-inspired’ seats with Edition specific trimmed ebony and blue leather. But, look past the mere smattering of embellishments and you’re left with quite a boring and dated cabin.
With the RS Edition coming in at a whopping £3350 over the standard Focus RS you have to wonder is it worth the additional outlay? However, keeping in mind this limited run monster comes with all the options of the RS Luxury pack (power fold mirrors, privacy glass, rear parking sensors etc), heated steering wheel, Recaro’s fantastic seats, and that incredible marvel of a front differential.
Overall the Focus RS Edition does everything you could ever want from a 5 door family hatch pumped full of testosterone and more, however don’t forget to take out shares in your local petrol station as this Essex bird has a real thirst for the strong stuff.
Words & Photos : Jas Halsey