ASK THE EXPERTS
We ask some of our favourite tuners for their top tips on modifying each generation of hot Focus – the Mk1 RS, Mk2 ST, and Mk3 RS…
What do the experts suggest you spend your money on when tuning the Focus?
The Focus has been with us for an incredible twenty years, and while its styling has mellowed and contemporised, it’s easy to forget just how radical the New Edge design of the Escort’s replacement was back in 1998. And, of course, there have always been hot variants to keep the blood pumping for the Blue Oval enthusiast – the Mk1 was revered even in base-spec form for its superlative chassis with control blade suspension, but the RS really was something else. 212bhp, Brembo brakes, Sachs dampers, Quaife ATB diff, it ticked a lot of boxes and has gone down in history as a classic of the genre.
In a sense, its spiritual successor was not the Mk2 Focus RS but the ST, offering 225bhp from its turbocharged five-cylinder motor, and that’s the next car we’re looking at in this guide. And finally, the Mk3 Focus RS – well, it’s just an animal, isn’t it? Half hot-hatch, half-spaceship, it boasts such generation-PlayStation toys as Launch Control and Drift Mode, as well as the sort of performance figures and acceleration stats that were the clear preserve of the supercar back when the Mk1 RS came out.
For each of these three iconic models, we spoke to a trio of tuners to ask their advice on the best ways to modify them for maximum performance and thrills; we also set the recommendations at three clear price points – sub-£1,000, £1,000-2,000, and £5,000+ - to give you an idea of what’s possible at different budgets.