I was parked next to a guy in a Tesla. He got in and drove off….silently, of course….and all I could think was “Poor guy….his car has no soul.”
Now…of course a Tesla is a fine ride….in its’ own special way…but testosterone curdling exhaust notes are not one of those ways. Yes….spending a little time in the Focus RS can give one distinctly “un-green” politically incorrect thoughts.
And that’s not a reflection on the RS’ economy. It’s outstanding for a performance vehicle. It’s just that a week spent with the burbly gurgly blatt blatt blatt of 350 HP busting out of those two large pipes in the rear can make a young fella’ have…. let’s say…deliciously impure thoughts.
Let’s be straight about this Focus. It’s not the rascally “ST” that you have probably seen on the road. No. If you’ve seen this car, it was most likely on TV with numbers on its’ side. The “RS” is an almost race-ready 350 HP, high-winged animal….at home on the track…yet equally able to take on a two-hour commute.
And at $39,560, it’s pricey for a Focus, yet a bargain for a rally-ready car that can mix it up with vehicles that cost far more.
So yes, the RS has 350 HP and an equal 350 ft. lbs. of torque….all from a 2.3 liter turbo four…..vs.the ST’s 252 HP 2.0 liter.
Standard all-wheel drive helps plant that power to the pavement….and some quite serious Michelin Super Sport Summer tires on 19” alloys helped keep us glued to the road. They were part of a $2,785 package that included heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors, and voice-activated nav. with Ford’s Synch 3 system.
Are the Michelin’s worth it? Well, if you’re going to get a car that goes fast, let’s get shoes that really let it dance, right?
The RS also has a 10-speaker audio system, but no matter how high I turned up the sound, I could always still hear those 350 horses talkin’ to me….as it should be in a car like this.
A smooth-shifting 6-speed stick is the only transmission option. For those facing long commutes no worries. The clutch engagement is virtually lurchless. It’s an easy-shifting joy to drive. And as with most manual transmissions these days, you get a hill-holding feature that prevents you from rolling backwards when shifting into first on a hill.
As you’d expect, Recaro seating is standard….covered in grippy suede leather.
Brembo brakes are standard as well….with blue painted calipers in the front.
And of course a sport suspension is part of the whole deal….with choices running from normal to “Sport”, “Track” and “Drift”.
The only thing really missing is a heads-up display, as it’s a little too easy to find yourself running well over posted limits in the RS.
In short, Ford’s Focus RS is one serious performance machine. I was surprised to get a bit better than the EPA’s 25 MPG on the road, but it took all my willpower to do so. It’s just too much fun to bury the throttle and listen to that engine sing!