If you're a Ford enthusiast you may have been aware of the Focus RS for some time now, but if you’re not, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, we already have a performance orientated version of the Ford Focus in the shape of the Focus ST, right? Well, yes we do, but the RS is more than just an ST with more power. In fact, it's much, much more, and that's why it's really a separate model in its own right. So, here's what it is, what it can do, and why it's been so eagerly anticipated.
You could think of the 2017 Ford Focus RS as a tuned version of the current Focus ST, but you’d be doing this car a huge disservice if you did. When we talk about "performance focused" cars (no pun intended), this is the very epitome of the term. Everything about the RS is designed and built with an eye towards how it performs, so it's a whole lot more than the familiar Ford compact with a more powerful engine. The engine, exhaust, brakes, tires, suspension, the body kit and even the seats all work together to produce a car that's about a whole lot more than just a high top speed and a rapid zero to sixty mph time. It's not just how fast the Focus RS is; it's how it drives and performs at those speeds.
Let's get this straight; the exterior styling of the 2017 Ford Focus RS isn't subtle by any means. If you want a hot hatch that nobody will know how fast it is until they race you away from the lights, this isn't it. There are spoilers, splitters, diffusers and vents everywhere, but they're actually aerodynamic elements the Focus RS uses to maximize downforce while creating zero lift for optimum high-speed handling. You might think it only comes in Nitrous Blue as that's the color it's always shown in, but you can also have the RS in Shadow Black, Frozen White or Stealth Gray too.
The heart of the beast
The beating heart of the Focus RS is an EcoBoost 2.3-liter inline-four, which produces 350 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. That might sound relatively modest at the side of some of our domestic muscle, and it is, but that's just the start of the story here. That power is then sent through a standard six-speed manual transmission to a Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive System, which intelligently distributes power for maximum benefit to both the front and rear as well as to the left and right. The RS also offers four different driving modes, which include, "Track" and "Drift," so you’re now starting to get an idea of what's really going on here.
This car was developed in conjunction with near-legendary rally driver Ken Block, and the numbers associated with it live up to that race-bred reputation. It has a top speed of some 165 mph, and it can get you from a standing start to 60 mph in as little as 4.6 seconds. Now, you may say it's not too difficult to get similar numbers from a current Mustang, and you’d be right. However, put the two head-to-head on a twisty track, especially one with a less than perfect gravelly surface, and the Focus RS will come out on top every time. However, you can also use this as your daily driver as it's got four proper doors and can even deliver EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings as good as 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway; just not when driven to anywhere near its capability, of course.*
The 2017 Ford Focus RS is only imported into the U.S. in limited numbers, so for more information and to check availability, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the guys here at Ed Butts Ford.
*All vehicle mileage based on 2017 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.