Regular readers/YouTube viewers will know that I simply LOVE the Ford Focus RS. It is currently my dream car and I’ve been yearning to drive one for quite a long time. Well, rather unexpectedly, I was able to drive one as part of the SMMT Test Day I attended. Words cannot even describe how the big my smile was and it was like all of my Christmases had come all at once. But enough of my romantic/borderline waffling, on to the drive.
Where do I start with the Focus RS? No, really? I suppose it’d be rude to mention the performance figures, especially as this the sole purpose of this Nitrous Blue yob. It has a 2.3 litre EcoBoost engine which is able to offer a very healthy 345bhp with 470Nm when using the overboost function. This means you’ll hit 62mph in just 4.7 seconds and the top speed is a supercar chasing 165mph. This not just quick for a hot hatch, this is quick full stop.
Naturally, this kind of grunt would be too much for the front whees alone to handle, so the RS has four-wheel drive, although the bias goes to the rear. This means the RS is more playful and of course, as you know, it has that infamous ‘Drift Mode’. Setting off and words cannot comprehend how much this moment to me, all I could really do is drink it all in. One I was able to compose myself it was time to open the taps. On this day I had already driven cars such as the Audi TT RS and the Mercedes AMG GT Roadster, but even so, the Focus RS still felt savage. Not as savage as the TT RS, but let’s not forget that has more power and a bigger pricetag.
It picks up pace like you wouldn’t believe in a hot hatchback and the 6-speed manual is a joy to use. The pedal layout and the steering is bang on although like many, I do find the driving position too high, even with the less bolstered – and optional – Recaro seats. Some have told me they don’t find them comfortable, but I had no such problem, probably because I had pure adrenaline coursing through my veins. The high seating position is a very small fly the ointment though and in truth, if that is something that nags away at you whilst you’re driving, then you simply not enjoying the car enough.
Because of the four-wheel drive set up, the Focus RS grips in the corners like you would not believe. I can’t even dream up a metaphor that can begin to tell you how much this will cling on in the bends. Erm, it’s as sticky as… oh I give up. It was a baking hot day, so the tarmac was nice and grippy, meaning I could really hoon the Focus through corners and the car’s performance really disappoint. As with any decent modern performance car, it has driving modes.
In fact I was so caught up in the moment that I almost forgot about these. Sport mode of course makes things a bit tighter and more responsive, plus you get more noise. Naturally you’ll get less comfort too, as the ride becomes choppy, even on fairly smooth surfaces, but none of that matters as attack every apex with the same kind of vigour as a Lion would as it pounces on gazelle. Track mode adds to sport by taking away the ESC, so you have more control over how the car drives, but it’s on you if you cock up.
Last but you not least, you have ‘Drift’. Now I said to myself that I would leave that button alone because as you know, I cannot drift. No matter how much I think I can in my head, I know full well I drift as well as an ostrich flies. However, temptation got the better of me and with no self control, I flicked the switch. Instantly I could feel back swaying as I approached corners, but I needn’t be scared.
The reason for this is because as mentioned, it was a hot day the and the tarmac/tyres were sticky, therefore I couldn’t really get the back out anyway. I will concede this was probably also down a lack of talent and also the fact I didn’t want to push the RS to a point where I was bound to lose control, before having to explain to Ford why the RS is wrapped around some armco. This aside, I simple loved my time in the blue coloured lunatic (blunatic if you will) and a part of me genuinely didn’t want to take the car back.
They say don’t meet your heroes in case you’re disappointed. Not in this case though – if anything, the Focus RS is now a bigger hero to me.