Fu­ri­ous Fo­cus

The Ford Fo­cus RS is a fun run­ner that turns heads ev­ery­where, writes Paul Gover Com­pact speed ma­chine thrills with its the­atrics

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

BEL­TER. It’s the word that sits best against the Ford Fo­cus RS. The last time the cars­Guide test team was this sur­prised and im­pressed by a tur­bocharged pocket rocket was when the Subaru STi first hit the road in Aus­tralia.

The go-fast Fo­cus has ev­ery­thing we like in a com­pact speed ma­chine, even with­out the all-wheel drive grip and se­cu­rity net that comes with Subaru’s WRX fam­ily and the Mit­subishi Lancer Evo.

It is a mas­sive step up from the XR5 turbo, which was the hero car in the Fo­cus fam­ily un­til the RS ar­rived.

The RS is a car that makes ev­ery trip a fun run, al­though you must ad­just to turn­ing heads ev­ery­where you drive it.

Its tur­bocharged five-cylin­der en­gine turns the front wheel and does it with plenty of the­atrics, from the whoost and chat­ter of the turbo and waste­gate to the way its front wheels scratch for grip un­der full throt­tle.

The worst thing about the RS is that only 315 cars have come to Aus­tralia and al­most ev­ery one is al­ready with its new owner.

There is talk of an­other RS when Ford does a com­plete model change on the Fo­cus, as well as a Fi­esta RS to tap the 2011 chal­lenger in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship, and we can­not wait.

Value

THE price of the Fo­cus RS is just about ir­rel­e­vant, be­cause all 315 cars were pretty much pre-sold. A cou­ple could still be lurk­ing in Ford deal­er­ships, but al­most ev­ery one went straight to own­ers.

That’s proof that the price was right, even if $59,990 seems a lot for a front-drive car against a WRX from $39,990 and a Re­nault Me­gane RS at $41,990.

Technology

THE heart of the RS is the up­graded five­cylin­der Du­ratec en­gine that is also used by Volvo and in the Fo­cus XR5.

The dif­fer­ence is big, though, and not just the boost to 224kW. Ma­jor hard­ware changes have been made in­side the en­gine and the turbo has also been given a tweak.

The key to putting so much power on the road is the Quaife-brand torque sens­ing dif­fer­en­tial, as well as RevoKnuckle front sus­pen­sion and 19-inch tyres and rims.

The RS also gets big­ger brakes, tweaked sta­bil­ity con­trol and con­ve­nience fea­tures in­clud­ing rear park­ing radar and ex­cel­lent Xenon head­lamps.

De­sign

THE RS is still a Fo­cus, but the body bits make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to the way it looks.

For our money it eas­ily trumps the STi from Subaru and makes the Evo look a bit plain.

It has a gi­ant front spoiler and a sub­stan­tial rear wing.

And the WRC-in­spired body changes in­clude spoked al­loys, a fake ven­turi un­der the rear bumper and meaty ex­haust tips.

In­side, the give­away to the sports fo­cus is the Re­caro bucket seats and the steer­ing wheel.

The look is not for ev­ery­one — and the Ker­mit-green hero colour works best for peo­ple who like to wear their base­ball cap back­wards — but it makes the RS unique and de­sir­able.

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