Is the 2016 Ford Focus RS the best hot hatch ever?
This isn't the usual motor.
It's the new Ford Focus RS one of the most exciting cars Ford has ever produced.
I'm going to dispense with the usual [UNKNOWN] and become something of a fan boy.
You see I've wanted to drive one of these things since they were first rumored.
The last two Focus RS's were Absolutely [UNKNOWN] cars.
Fun, fast, and very affordable considering what they can do.
After all, they were fast Fords, made by people who know a thing or two about making hatches go really, really fast.
For example, the [UNKNOWN], the Escort RS [UNKNOWN] was all kinds of awesome.
It's predecessor, the Sierra, was punishingly quick for its time.
In fact, the RS lineage goes all the way to the last 60s with the 15M, 17M, and 20M RS.
RS stands for Rally Sport.
Which is exactly what the original RS's were intended for, going rallying.
Nowadays, if you want to go dirt racing in a Ford, you're probably better off with a decently prepped Fiesta.
However, RS doesn't really mean that any more.
Think of it like the "M" badge on the back of a BMW or an RS Audi, something like that.
It's the most hardcore road car you can buy.
They have a huge following as well.
The name carries some considerable weight and people want it in their lives and on their drives.
Usually men of a certain age.
But still, their money is as good as anyone else's.
This is the first Focus to come with an all wheel drive system, but it's different from the usual all wheel drive stuff you get.
Now this one's a bit clever, it can shuffle up to 70% of it's torque to a single rear wheel to keep you in check.
It's got something called a RDU, a rear drive unit Packs in it.
So basically put the power where you need it at any given time.
Like proper [UNKNOWN] factory.
It also means the car can change its character depending on which mode you're in.
For example, in normal you're kept nice and safe with the ESC set to crayon and all white.
Sport makes everything a bit angry and lets the exhaust steam a little more.
Tracking is there for the circuit only and lets the car slip a little, but lets a good driver get a properly good lap time.
Usual stuff for a BMW or.
For an Audi, but this is a Ford Focus.
So the fact that it's here means something pretty big.
Then there's drift mode, that's the button you press when you want to drive like a complete and utter
So what you do is you press the button.
You go into a corner.
You give it a bit too much.
And then the car shuffles for power to the wheel that's required to keep you drifting in the direction you want to drift.
It takes a bit of practice.
But once you got it, it basically makes drifting one of the easiest things in the world ever.
Now drift mode works in a couple ways.
You can have it with a little bit of ESP so the car will look after you and it will realize when things are going wrong, and keep you in check.
Or, Ford are the only people that will allow you to turn all of the ESP systems off.
That's when it a little bit trickier and you can fall off a bit.
On some models there's adjustable ESC and dampers.
Now it's engine.
It's a 2.3 liter four cylinder turbo with 345 horsepower and 325 pound foot 347 on overboost.
Null to 62, 6.47 seconds and it'll top out at 165 miles an hour.
It's a [INAUDIBLE] hatch all right.
Quicker than a Delta and well into RS3 territory, if not quite as fast.
And to top it all off, it's got fantastic six speed manual gearbox.
This thing is set up to be a proper driver's car.
The last two Focus RSs, as I said earlier, were a fantastic car Little bit torque steer.
A little bit manic.
This doesn't have any of that.
My god it feels so fun to drive it around the circuit.
You can bung it in to a corner.
It would error on the side of understeer a little bit.
But when you got it right man, it would grip and grip and grip and grip.
You can cling on to corners at stupid speed even in the wet.
Now the throttle response, man the engine in this, it makes a hell of a racket.
And often you can modulate it and you can work with it so well.
That goes for all the driving modes and all that, you're already supposed to really use [UNKNOWN] on the road, but you can stick it on sports if you really want to.
Drift mode is seriously a revelation.
Because of all of the electro mechanical trickery they've got going on, they figured out with their four wheel drive system they could make drifting really easy.
And why shouldn't they?
It's a really fun thing to do and it makes me happy when I manage to pull it off, and I imagine it's going to make a lot of people very happy as well.
But when you select it, there is a thing that says for track use only.
Now, what are the percentage of people who, when they buy their shiny new Focus RS, they're going to press the drift mode button at the first roundabout they see and go, I wonder what this does?
I think there are going to be a fair few people in these around roundabouts and in town Doing some very silly things and that's entirely their responsibility.
Fortunes warn you, I imagine the daily mail might get crossed but you know what if the daily mail get's crossed they'll probably sell ten million more of these.
Now they're handling you can tell it's got an amazing chassis.
The ride on a bumpy road such as the one that we're on now.
Well, it's not the best in the world but it isn't a car, it's a hot hand.
Well, it's not a hot hand, it's a hyper hat.
It's in the class with the Rs3 and what have you.
Now this is a good year for Ford because in the UK at least, they just released the Mustang and now this Now, the Mustang is a very interesting car to compare it to cuz it's big, it's a big soft and squidgy, it feels great, and it's very tail happy, and all that, especially if you get the V8.
Whereas, this is a far [UNKNOWN] car.
This is way more of a driver's car.
The Mustang's a fun This is a really serious bit of kick.
It's a proper all rounder though because you can still fit loads of stuff in the back.
It's got that Ford Focus practicality to it.
And it's not that expensive.
This one is about 33,000 pounds.
That's not much money considering the amount of car you get for it.
It looks the part as well.
They've taken the Focus and made it really aggressive.
It's a very angry looking thing, in black especially.
And then you get up to it.
And it's got all these scoops.
And it's got the vents and all the angriest about it.
Now the big question is whether you should have one of these over say an Audi RS3 or a Golf R or a A45 AMG.
I say drive them all first, but you know what for me.
I'd probably have the Ford.
And if people turn their ears and think it's a Ford.
Wait till you beat them at the line.
And then execute a perfect drift around a roundabout while giving them the finger, well then you'll have the last laugh.
Now criticisms of it, I have very few.
The interior is a bit dark, I suppose, and the plastics on as well.
It's not an Audi interior, but it's also a lot cheaper than an Audi.
Being a Focus, it does have the same sat nav as all the other Focuses, and thus is one of the most [UNKNOWN] systems I've ever used in my life.
You know, in some sort of vague conclusion, it handles brilliantly, the steering is fantastic.
The turn of pace is immense and what I can do.
It will make you look like a hero.
It will make you feel like a hero.
This is one of the best top.
At the moment.
The hope dream of the new focus RS has been running at full steam for awhile and thankfully it's as good as we hoped it would be.
Actually is better.
The benchmark for the hot hatch is pretty high nowadays with the RS3, the A45AMG, and even the Golf R, and that's really what the Focus RS is up against, and you know what?
For the money, for what it does and just how well it does it, the Focus is definitely one to watch.
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