As befits a car costing £30,000, the third generation Ford Focus RS has an impressive mechanical specification and is well equipped in standard form.
Part of any performance car is, of course, its engine. Whereas the second generation RS was powered by a 5 cylinder, Volvo-derived unit, the 2016 RS comes with Ford’s new 2.3 litre, 4 cylinder Ecobooost engine. It’s smaller, lighter and more efficient than the 5 cylinder unit and offers.
better fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions (down around 20% in comparison to the second generation RS) and, in standard trim, more power and torque (345 bhp and 470NM).
An automatic stop/start system (which can be deactivated by the driver if so desired) is fitted as standard and is one of the reasons for the RS’s much improved fuel economy (28.3 miles per gallon as opposed to the second generation RS’s 21.1 mpg) on the EU urban test cycle.
Being able to stop quickly and in a controlled fashion is even more important than being able to accelerate quickly. Consequently, ABS and all-round disc brakes are fitted as standard to the RS. As the weight distribution of the RS (like most front-engined cars) is front-biased, larger (350mm diameter) Brembo discs with four piston calipers are fitted to the front wheels. Painted calipers are available as a cost option (currently £100).
The 2016 Focus RS comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. There are no automatic or dual clutch options. Driver selectable electronic launch control is fitted as standard.
Unlike both previous generations of the Focus RS, the 2016 incarnation comes with Ford’s newly developed all-wheel drive system, which monitors throttle, steering brake and other inputs at the rate of 100 times per second and allows up to 70% of available torque to be transmitted to the rear wheels. The result is a car that handles more like a rear wheel drive car than its predecessors and is highly resistant to understeer.
The new AWD system also features torque vectoring. This allows up to 100% of the torque supplied to the rear axle to be sent to one of the rear wheels to help ensure that the RS stays balanced during hard cornering.
To take full advantage of its advanced AWD system, the RS comes with a system that allows the driver to select from four different modes. Normal and Sport modes are for use on public roads, while Track and Drift are specifically intended for circuit use only.
The settings of the following components are varied according to the selected Drive Mode: AWD system, dampers, steering, engine, Electronic Stability Control and the exhaust valve.
On public roads, Normal mode is likely to be the most widely used, with Sport mode being available whenever the driver desires enhanced response and feedback.
Track mode is designed to deliver optimal performance on track and Drift mode is intended to allow drivers to indulge in lurid on-track slides without loss of control.
The 2016 Focus RS comes with 19 inch silver multi-spoke alloy wheels fitted with 235/50 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres as standard. Forged multi-spoke alloys, available only in black, are available as a cost option (currently £595). The forged alloys are 950 grammes per wheel lighter than the standard items and offer handling and control benefits resulting from the reduction of the RS’s unsprung weight.
In certain other markets, the forged alloys can be supplied as a option package along with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 semi-slick tyres. This option is not presently offered in the UK.
The Focus RS is supplied with half-leather Recaro front seats as standard. The seats are supplied in one colour – charcoal – and there are no seat colour options. The sole exception to this is that the seat bolsters of RS’s finished in Nitrous Blue metallic (a cost option) are blue in colour.
As an alternative to the standard seats, RS purchasers can specify Recaro ‘shell’ seats designed to provide extra support during hard cornering. These seats, a £1145 option, lack the height adjustment of the standard seats.
Heated front seats are available as a cost option for buyers of US market cars, but are not presently available on UK specification cars.
As the performance flagship of the Focus range and the sole RS model available in the UK, the Focus RS features a number of styling enhancements including a redesigned front bumper and grille, and a high-mounted rear spoiler. These, say Ford, are intended to reduce drag and increase downforce
Only one colour is available as standard: Stealth Grey, a solid, non-metallic finish. Buyers have, however, a choice of four other colours as cost options. These are: Frozen White, also a solid rather than metallic finish (£250), Shadow Black, a pearlescent finish (£525), Magnetic, a grey metallic (£525) and Nitrous Blue metallic (£745).
The 2016 RS comes with a number of interior refinements, principal among which are: Ford’s SYNC2 multimedia system (which includes a nine speaker radio/CD/MP3 system and allows voice control of both the sound system and compatible mobile phones); electric windows front and rear with one-touch raising and lowering; dual zone electronic automatic temperature control and a start button.
The third generation Focus RS also comes some noteworthy exterior features, including a heated windscreen, powerful HID adaptive headlamps, headlamp washers, automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers and heated washer jets.
In addition to those already mentioned, a number of cost options can be specified by RS buyers.
The most expensive of these (other than the Recaro ‘shell’ seats) is the Luxury Pack, which adds electrically folding exterior mirrors, parking sensors, cruise control, keyless entry and rear privacy glass to the RS at a cost of £1000.
Satellite navigation (integrated with the SYNC2 system), uprated speakers and a rear-view camera are available as an options pack at a price of £465.
A tilt/slide sunroof can be factory fitted at a cost of £575, Ford’s Active City Stop system (designed to avoid – or at least minimise the effect of – accidents if the vehicle is travelling at 30 kilometres an hour or less) can be added for £200, and front and rear door edge protectors cost £85.
The Mk3 Focus RS Club is run by genuine enthusiasts with a real pasion for the RS line. We are creating a special community for a very special car. Come be a part of it.