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…

Fast Ford - - Contents - Words DAN BE­VIS / Pho­tos VAR­I­OUS

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.

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