The amazing thing we see today is automakers trying to sell us on cars that are extremely expensive but only shave a small amount of time off the speed of a car that you can have for around $40,000. While it’s not likely you will ever see a Ford Focus RS on the same track with any Ferrari or Porsche model, the difference in price for the speed gained puts horsepower and track times at a premium. If you are going to spend a lot of time at the track and want a winner, the investment might make sense, but if you simply want a car that has good power and is lots of fun, the Ford Focus RS is a great choice.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. The base price for the Ford Focus is $18,100, but if you want the RS you do have to more than double that number but you come out around $40,000. As a percentage, that’s awful, but when you look at the actual number and see the entire Porsche 911 lineup has a larger difference in price than this and the models are all within a few horsepower of each other the power you add with the RS will feel like you bought your horsepower at Costco.
This is a car you would have never expected to find the amount of power in that you do receive. The 2.3-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine sounds boring, except for the turbo part, but it pushes out a massive 350 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s more than most trucks can produce on both scales and we’re talking about a small hatchback car. The car only weighs in at 3,459 pounds and even offers a torque-vectoring system to give the power to the wheels that need it or even a single one if needed to make it a fun car to drive.
Even though the engine is one that is based off the Mustang EcoBoost engine, the one found in the pony car has less power and doesn’t rev as quickly. This is mostly because the Mustang offers the EcoBoost as the base engine where the Focus RS is the top model. The Focus offers more linear power a better exhaust performance and is simply quicker off the line to give anyone an exciting ride in a car that is being considered as one of the best hot hatches we have ever seen.
When you get behind the wheel of the Focus RS you will reach sixty mph in only 4.6 seconds and pass a quarter-mile mark travelling at 105 mph in only 13.4 seconds. Most high end sports cars can match this performance but none of them can come close to this price which makes the Focus RS one of the best values in horsepower on the road today. If you do need a little help and use the launch-control program you will run only a tenth of a second off the pace, which is still an amazing performance.
For those who argue that this straight line speed is not what makes the high end supercars great, but the way they can handle the track, the Focus RS does a great job of quieting the crowd of doubters. This car can stick to the road with a 0.98g lateral grip with the standard Michelin Pilot Sport tires but with upgraded Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires this grip is dramatically increased to allow you to whip this car around the track with confidence and speed that will make those driving European brands gawk with envy.
As for drifting, this car won’t do it, at least not for long. If you were able to break the rear wheels free of the massive grip they have the brakes will take over and bring it back under control and when you turn in the other direction the car comes dialed back to center. Yes this does take away the fun of drifting but it allows you to turn in better track times and stay under control. Drifting is even controlled on the other end as there is an understeer mitigation system that will keep you from ending up completely out of control.
If you really do want to drift you do need to select the drift mode and then hold the stability control button down to allow the car to know you are intentionally trying to perform this feat, then it will allow you to drift as you see fit, giving you the long smoky slide you were looking for from the beginning.
While you might not ever take your RS to the track, handing it on the open roads is easy too. This car handles so much better than a car that has sixty percent of its weight in the front end should, which makes it a marvel an one that many of the high end automakers should look at to find ways to copy. Whether you have a winding canyon run near you or just some old country curves you can keep your speed up in and out of the turns with this car that keeps you fully under control unless you tell the car you want to be able to let the front or back end loose, then it’s time to hang on and see what comes of the run you experience.
Don’t expect to get a luxury interior with your Focus RS. The focus of building this car was to give you the best performance possible with massive horsepower to have a hot hatch the entire world would love. Now that you understand what you will have with this car doesn’t it make sense when you are an occasional track visitor or a person that just wants more fun on an open road to buy the RS instead of spending three to four times as much to purchase something with a European name on it? Let the Focus RS be your way to have fun on the road and you won’t ever have another boring day of driving.