► Ford Focus RS Mountune review
► We test upgraded Focus hot hatch
► Can £899 pack make a big difference?
Think back to the last time you saw a fast Ford – bet it wasn’t standard, was it? There’s something about the Blue Oval badge that gets even the most mechanically shy motorist researching stainless steel cat-backs and coilover suspension.
That’s all well and good when you’re tinkering with a 10-year-old Fiesta, but it’s not as easy to make with the spanners under the bonnet of a brand new car, particularly one you’ve bought on finance.
Helping modern Ford drivers scratch their tuner-itch is performance parts company Mountune. They could tweak the last Fiesta, if you’ll remember rightly, without affecting your warranty. And now they’ve done the same with the Focus RS.
Ford Focus RS Mountune FPM375 sounds like the model number on my dishwasher…
It’s not a particularly evocative acronym but you’ll like what it stands for – Ford Performance Mountune, with the 375 relating to the new power output in metric horsepower.
If you can find £899 and a dealer willing to fit it (waiting lists are expected to be quite long) the upgrade will liberate an extra 24bhp and 30lb ft of torque from the standard car, bringing you even closer to the more expensive Mercedes-AMG A 45 and Audi RS 3.
It comprises a high-performance air filter, Mountune-branded crossover duct, uprated recirculation valve and most importantly a re-flashed ECU. Best of all, you get to keep Ford’s three year/60,000 mile warranty.
What difference does it make?
For a start the 0-62mph time drops by two tenths to 4.5 seconds, which is a decent upgrade, but the standard car already feels very quick so don’t expect an extra VTEC-style shove in the back.
What it does do is make the car feel more responsive at lower revs, with a sharper throttle and more progressive feel to the power delivery. The torque seems more liberally spread out, and the car feels even less turbo’d as a result.
However, the biggest difference to our ears was the new noises the Mountune makes – the turbo noise is much more present, sucking in great big gulps of air and dumping them aggressively between gearshifts.
It sounds awesome – and considering the modest increase in price, we’d probably recommend it on this basis alone. Particularly in combination with the louder exhaust Mountune sells…
What about the Ford Focus RS Mountune handling?
Unchanged from the standard car, which is to say, it offers up an extraordinary amount of mid-corner grip while simultaneously balancing itself on the point of always-available oversteer.
It’s never been a particularly pure driving experience, there’s still a pervading sense that some computer trickery is guiding the angle of the car, but it’s an immensely entertaining thing.
Are there any downsides to the Mountune upgrade?
One particular gripe – the Mountune badge isn’t very obvious. On the Fiesta ST you got a bold yellow badge that sat under the ST moniker and stood out like a sore thumb, particularly on Spirit Blue cars.
On the Focus a Ford Performance Mountune badge replaces the standard Ford one, so it’s not so easy for people you’ve just overtaken to see. Small issue, but still.
Buy an RS and sooner or later someone will approach you in a car park or petrol station and tell you they like your car. Then they’ll ask you if it’s standard.
No mate, you’ll say, it’s a Mountune. They’ll nod sagely and make that whistly-teeth noise plumbers make while your boiler leaks water all over the bathroom floor. That feeling will be worth £899 alone.
But seriously – if you got all the way here and still need convincing - the Mountune kit is less than a leather seat upgrade on a Golf GTI and makes your Focus RS faster and even noisier. What on earth are you waiting for?
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