The Ford Focus RS - the Fast Ford was launched last year to tumultuous praise. The RS badge has a long history, stretching back to 1968. RS stands for Rallye Sport and derived from the Ford TeamRS division which has since been superseded by Ford Performance. These cars were originally designed for rally racing and since then, there have been thirty road versions of those cars. The 2016 Ford Focus RS is the 30th road car.
The History of the RS
The first RS was the 1968 Ford 15M RS Coupe. This isn’t the car often praised as bringing the RS into the spotlight, but it is the first official road car to bear the RS badge. This car was powered by a V4 engine with front-wheel drive. This was followed on by Ford slapping the RS badge onto a slightly larger Ford 17M RS with a 2.0-litre V6 under the bonnet.
Eventually, Ford created the car that is seen as the genesis for the RS breed. The 1970 Ford Escort RS1600 came with a 1.6-litre twin-cam engine developed by the famous tuners Cosworth. It developed 120 bhp and a top speed of 113 mph, which doesn’t sound terribly impressive today, but was incredible back in 1970.
Following the Escort, Ford built more Escort RS models as well as Capri RS and Sierra RS models over the next two decades. In 1990, Ford decided to introduce the RS brand to smaller models. The Ford Fiesta RS was born as a result. This fun packed car came with a 1.6-litre engine with 130 bhp under its tiny bonnet. That was a lot of power for a small car at the time.
However, from 1993, Ford took a break from the RS brand for almost a decade. In 2002, Ford launched the Ford Focus RS. This car was originally revealed as a concept car at the Geneva Motor Show in 1998 but wasn’t put into production until 2001. Following the 2002 version, Ford goes into hibernation with the RS badge and doesn’t launch another RS until 2009.
The 2009 Ford Focus RS is packed with a 300 bhp turbocharged 2.5-litre engine that the Escort Cosworth RS can only dream of. But now, we have a new 2016 model that knocked all previous models into the dust.
The 2016 Ford Focus RS
2016 saw many fast Fords reach our roads with the Ford Fiesta ST200 and the first ever right-hand-drive Ford Mustang, but this new Ford Focus RS is a breed all to itself. It has an engine from the new Ford Mustang, comes with four-wheel drive and a Drift mode. Seriously, this car is designed with pure fun in mind. Also, it comes with a gorgeous Nitrous Blue paint job that shines brightly on the road and is a good enough reason in itself to get this car.
The Fast Ford’s engine
With this being a fast Ford, we have to discuss the engine first. Under its bonnet is has a ferocious engine brought over from the Ecoboost Mustang. It is a four-cylinder 2.3-litre turbocharged engine throwing out 345 bhp for you to play with.
With that power, you can zip up to the top speed of 165 mph (although you should never get close to this unless on a track) and sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds allowing you to accelerate on the motorways of Britain.
Whilst fuel economy most likely isn’t a priority for you, we feel obligated to inform you that the RS delivers a combined fuel economy of 36.7 mpg. That isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great either.
Inside the RS
The Ford Focus RS looks gorgeous and ferocious on the outside and inside you are cocooned in your leather RS-embossed sports seats. These support you when you throw the car into the corners and are comfy when simply cruising. Everything on the dashboard is easy to use and there is a bank of sporty-looking gauges on top of the dash.
Despite being a sporty Ford, the RS comes with five seats with plenty of space for all. This means you can take your friends for a weekend of excitement and adventure or drive your kids to school and see the envious looks of other parents. Now because the RS has a four-wheel drive system, the boot capacity has shrunk from 316-litre in the normal hatchback down to 260-litres.
Let the fun begin
Let's be honest, if you are looking at the Focus RS, the boot space isn’t a priority. The drive is. At no point, when you are sat behind the wheel, are you disappointed. It is almost an impossibility.
You turn the engine on and receive a raspy noise from the pair of exhaust pipes, giving you an idea of the noise ready to come. The chest squishing experience of pushing down on the accelerator fills you with adrenaline-fueled excitement.
You have four modes you can choose from with this car: Normal, Sport, Track and Drift. Normal is the mode you will use for everyday activities like taking the school run or getting the weekly shop in. In this mode, you are basically driving a normal Focus in a sporty shell.
However, if you want to access the raw speed that comes in this car, you want to flick it into Track mode. Obviously, this is designed for use on the track (which you may or may not wish to visit). In this mode, there is nothing holding you back to getting as close to that top speed as possible except for your own bravery and any legal restrictions.
But the truly exciting feature on this new RS is the Drift mode. Reviewers have been squealing with excitement about it since this car was launched. This mode allows you to throw this car into a drift around corners as if you were in a rear-wheel drive car with the security of having four-wheel drive. This means that if you come close to losing control, the four-wheel drive system will send power to the front wheels to pull you out of the drift before it is too late.
In terms of acceleration, the RS has a six-speed manual gearbox that puts you right at the centre of the driving. You are in total control of how fast you want to drive by controlling when to change gears as you accelerate.
Considering this is a fast Ford, the ride is firm, but not too stiff. You are always in full control of this car, with barely any body roll and you are well supported at all times. Whilst being firm, the suspension absorbs most bumps without you ever noticing.
When it comes to the steering, it is fast, but accurate, allowing you to place the RS wherever you wish. In the dry, this car is perfect. Thanks to the huge amount of available grip, this car sticks brilliantly to the road.
However, in the wet, you get a slightly more challenging drive. The four-wheel drive system keeps you in place, but if you want some fun, you can tease the backend out.
The Ford Focus RS is an extremely effective car that delivers on handling, comfort and speed. If you are tempted by the fast Ford Focus RS, it is available to lease through us.
Hippo Leasing offers affordable car leasing agreements that help you get the best car to suit your needs. If you can afford a Focus RS, why not enquire with us now and let our team help you out?