RS: Re­ally Sporty, Re­ally Sorted

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

on to do amaz­ing things in the Ger­man Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship.

The only RS I had ac­tu­ally driven, prior to this most re­cent model, was the pre­vi­ous ver­sion with a hairy, 223kW, five-cylin­der turbo petrol en­gine. It was a gar­ish green colour and went quickly… although not nearly as quickly as its fan­boys would have you be­lieve.

And therein lay the prob­lem: get­ting 223kW down to the tar­mac with only two driven wheels was al­ways go­ing to put it at a dis­ad­van­tage. The FWD Ford was also a hand­ful un­der full-bore ac­cel­er­a­tion and pro­duced a num­ber of mo­ments of un­der­steer.

What a dif­fer­ence a few years makes.

The new Fo­cus RS is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent – and much, much bet­ter – animal than its older sib­ling. And, the main rea­son for that is it now has all four wheels driven.

That means it doesn’t just get off the line in a sprint – it cat­a­pults away. There is lit­tle dis­cernible lag from the 2.0-litre, four-cylin­der turbo en­gine (which puts out a ma­cho 257kW) and the slick sixspeed man­ual gear­box keeps the show on the road with a de­gree of driver in­volve­ment you don’t get with an auto or dual clutch auto.

The lat­est Fo­cus RS has also sort of clever elec­tronic gim­micks – in­clud­ing Sport, Race and Drift modes – to keep even the most jaded petrol­head happy for days – although the last two are in­tended strictly for the race­track.

I ad­mit, I don’t have the what­sits to use those modes. And, in re­al­ity, my idea of drift­ing is bur­bling along a high­way, look­ing in an­tic­i­pa­tion to the stop ahead, to the hol­i­day ahead.

Hav­ing said that, though, the Fo­cus proved a very amenable com­pan­ion on a trip we did, drift­ing along at an in­di­cated 140km/h with­out rais­ing a sweat. I wait to see how many tick­ets I got – be­cause the Fo­cus was a re­lax­ing place to be and I wasn’t pay­ing enough at­ten­tion to the cops.

Fuel con­sump­tion on that trip wasn’t bad, con­sid­er­ing… around 9.0 litres per 100km. But in the city, I strug­gled to get the num­ber be­low 14l/100km. On de­liv­ery I noted the car’s long-dis­tance trip me­ter show- ing more than 6 000km trav­elled at an av­er­age of well over 15l/100km. Which proves not so much that the Fo­cus RS is a guz­zler, but that tak­ing ad­van­tage of all that per­for­mance is ir­re­sistible.

Would I pay R700 000 and some change for this car? No. I’m not the tar­get mar­ket.

I’m not the type to spend week­ends at the track or blast around moun­tain roads. If you are, though, it’s ideal for you.

The new Fo­cus RS is much, much bet­ter than its older ‘sib­ling’, although the out­ward ap­pear­ance is muted.

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