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Ford Focus RS inspires hooliganism

04.08.2016

Drift Mode! Yes, it sounds so irresponsible that it is actually cool, as could be heard from the cheers from car guards and taxi drivers while I was going around and around in the mall parking lot, which I had arranged to be empty for the safety of all involved of course.

It was at this point where the spectators watching from a distance started running around as if their favourite soccer team had just scored the winning goal in a cup final.  I aimed for the exit and left the lot, it is safe to say that the Ford Focus RS definitely inspires the hooligan in me.

The Ford Focus RS is the latest hyper hatch to join the party along with the Mercedes-AMG A45, the Audi RS3, Volkswagen Golf R and even the Audi S3. Now if you turn back time just for a few years you would recall that there was a Focus with an RS badge on it. It was one of the first hatchbacks to develop over 200kW from its 2.5-litre turbocharged engine and sending it all to the front wheels.

For this latest model though much has changed, for starters this new model develops 257kW and 440Nm which reaches the road via an all-wheel drive system. You see, with the amount of power that these cars are making it makes logical sense to utilize AWD. In doing so the Ford has moved into a new kind of fight club where snarling Germans battle it out.

So does this Ford have what it takes to tango with the best of the rest? Well for starters it has some visual appeal. Up front the Focus RS features a rather aggressive nose which should at least intimidate the competition. I do like the large grille and mean looking headlights.

From the side the wheels grab your attention with as much grip as they grab the road. Behind the many spokes are blue Brembo brake callipers which are, in a word; potent. At the back though Ford has kept the two large tailpipes which protrude from either end of the bumper. There is also a rather large wing with will reassure the people that you pass that they stand no chance.

Visually the car looks as good as it should. It looks like a hooligan, it sounds like one sure does go like one. However it’s not all fun and games as I discovered when I got into the car for the first time.

My test car featured some sporty Recaro seats which look fantastic however they are not height adjustable. I can live with that because the driving position is perfect, for me at least. As for the interior finishes, well it’s not as well put together as that of its German counterparts. The dashboard layout is much like that of the Focus ST, it looks good and the Ford SYNC system offers many wondrous features if you have the time to figure it out.

There is a button, near the manual 6-speed gear lever that says 'Mode' on it. This is a nice button, on of my favorite buttons in fact. I really enjoyed pushing it because it would take the car out of 'Normal' mode into 'Sport', 'Track' Mode or the infamous 'Drift' mode which was co-developed by Gymkhana legend Ken Block. I found myself driving in Tack Mode as this opens up the valves in the pipes to unleash a deep and sinister burble. It also sharpens up the throttle and stiffens-up the suspension, which I will admit, does make it uncomfortable, to say the least.

As for the performance, well its 2.0-litre four cylinder turbocharged engine develops 257kW/440Nm with a 30Nm overboost function. Off the line the Focus RS will hit 100km/h in about 4.7 seconds, which means that with the use of a brutal launch control function the Focus RS will happily out launch a Golf R DSG, which I tested first hand.

As a performance package the Ford Focus RS is a hooligan, it inspires you to drive it hard and have fun. It really does deliver on the performance driving aspects as well, however as a daily driver I just couldn’t live with it. It has a thirst that will shame many a car with double the cylinders. Granted, I was honing it for most of the time, but when I took it easy I couldn’t get it under 10litres/100km.

That said, this car is not the kind of car where owners care about the fuel consumption and neither would the happy hooligans behind the wheel.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
04.08.2016
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