► New Focus RS starts from £28,940
► 0-62mph in 4.7sec, 165mph flat-out
► Cheaper – and faster – than many rivals
Following months of speculation, Ford has announced final pricing and performance stats for the upcoming Focus RS performance hatch. The RS will be capable of 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds, a top speed of 165mph and start from £28,940. A quite considerable performance-per-pound ratio, eh?
Where does that price position the 2016 Ford Focus RS against its rivals?
A rung or two beneath them, actually. Arguably the Focus RS’s most direct rival is VW’s 296bhp Golf R which, like the RS, is four-wheel-drive. It starts from £30,820, and gives away nearly 50bhp to the Focus’s 345bhp. Audi’s 4wd RS3 Sportback offers a monstrous 362bhp output, but an equally monstrous price tag of £39,955.
Winner of our recent hot-hatch triple test, Honda’s front-wheel-drive 306bhp Civic Type R starts from £29,995 and the absorbing-to-drive, harder-to-live-with (and soon to be replaced) Renaultsport Megane virtually ties with the Focus at £28,930 in 271bhp Nav 275 Trophy trim.
2016 Ford Focus RS: the performance stats
Powering the Focus RS is a 345bhp 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, related to that found in the new Mustang but with a different turbo, altered air intake and bespoke exhaust system among other tune-ups.
This, the Mk3 Focus RS, is 4wd (its predecessors powered their front wheels only), with electronically controlled clutch packs apportioning as much as 70% of torque to the rear axle. The RS’s party trick is that rear-axle torque can also be directed side to side, to either wheel, helping to cheat physics, quell understeer and help the car turn ever tighter.
That headline 4.7sec 0-62mph time is achieved using the car’s standard Launch Control mode – simply flick a switch, engage first gear, plant your right foot and pop the clutch. The microchips do the rest, flicking the turbos to overboost, metering the torque to wherever it’s needed most and stiffening the rear dampers. All the driver needs to do is hold on. Incidentally, that’s a second quicker than the Civic Type R and two-tenths quicker than a DSG-equipped Golf R.
It’s possible to toggle between four driving modes in the RS: Normal, Sport, Track and the much-hyped ‘Drift mode’, making it as eager as possible to wag its tail and intended to be used in ‘circuit conditions’ only, Ford stresses. See some of the potential results in the video at the foot of this story, and read more about the thinking behind Ford’s Drift Mode here.
When does the new Ford Focus RS arrive?
Available to order now, deliveries are pencilled in for the first quarter of 2016. The new RS is built in Ford’s Saarlouis plant in Germany.