RS: Really Sporty, Really Sorted
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.