What is it?
The ultimate version of the ultimate Ford Focus, a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive hot hatch representing one of the most engaging cars on the road. Limited to 500 examples in Australia, this Focus RS Limited Edition also represents the end of the current-generation "LZ” Focus likely to be replaced by a new model soon.
How much does it cost and what do you get?
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The Focus RS is the king of Ford’s small car range. Powered by a turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine that drives all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, the Focus RS features performance goodies including Brembo brakes, dynamic dampers, Recaro seats, 19-inch wheels and a pumped-up body kit. Other niceties includes bi-xenon headlamps, an 8-inch touchscreen with sat nav and Ford’s SYNC system
Priced from $56,990 plus on-road costs, the Limited Edition costs $6000 more than the standard RS – a fair sum when you consider it comes as standard with forged wheels and track-ready tyres that add $3500 to the standard model, as well as metallic "nitrous blue” paint that normally costs $500.
You also get a black-painted roof and spoilers, along with a limited-slip differential that improves the car’s composure when pushed to the limit.
What’s under the bonnet?
Ford’s 2.3-litre turbo motor is the heart of the RS, developing up to 257kW of power and 440Nm of torque that swells to 470Nm for brief periods of full-throttle "overboost”.
This is a mighty engine that offers plenty of character – there’s a delicious snap and crackle from the exhaust, a classically turbocharged shove-in-the-back under throttle and a manual transmission that makes you work to extract its best.
It’s a genuinely quick car, one that will hit 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds (with the help of launch control) before reaching a top speed of 266km/h.
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What’s it like to drive?
In a word? Memorable.
The Focus RS is a purposeful machine that feels like a rally car stripped of sponsorship signage. It’s devastatingly fast in the right environment, lending confidence in abilities that stretch higher than your average hot hatch. Helped by Michelin "Cup” tyres which offer outstanding dry grip, the Focus represents the most engaging hot hatch you can buy today, and the new limited-slip diff up front finds extra traction when exiting sharp corners, making it even quicker point-to-point.
I’ve tested this car on wet and dry circuits, on a slippery skid pan and on favourite back roads – it really does shine when pushed hard. Multiple driving modes cater to different moods and environments, including the "drift mode” specifically engineered for sideways shenanigans. My favourite setting is the track mode, which sharpens its reflexes and loosens stability control, combined with a softer shock absorber setting accessed on the end of its wiper stalk.
Configured as such, the RS offers a mix of tail-happy playfulness and sure-footed traction few cars can match. The downside is that it’s not particularly sophisticated on the road. Ford Performance’s narrow focus for this model results in a car that feels compromised in everyday driving - you feel just about ever
What’s it like inside?
The Focus’ interior looks fairly dated these days, saddled with slabs of grey plastic that would see VW interior designers sent away to the emissions testing chamber. This model is helped by Smurf blue trim for Recaro seats that sit a touch lower than the standard RS, though it never feels particularly special – particularly in the back.
Ford’s SYNC infotainment system offers excellent connectivity that should improve even further when the next-generation Focus arrives later this year.
Is it safe?
Funny you should ask, as the Limited Edition is the only Focus RS variant to feature autonomous emergency braking. It really does have almost every base covered.
Would I buy it?
Absolutely. The RS Limited Edition is safer, better-looking, more comfortable and purposeful than the regular version. It’s not the last word in comfort, though I can get over that, particulalry as this model will soon be out of production.
What else should I consider?
Hot hatch fans have an amazing set of options these days. Honda’s Civic Type R is the hero of the moment, bringing a lighter, better-finessed and more liveable take on the theme. Hyundai’s i30 N looks good, Volkswagen’s evergreen Golf GTI and R represent sensible options and Subaru’s WRX STI brings old-school all-wheel-drive fun. You could also consider Renault’s upcoming Megane RS in manual "cup” form, or see if the budget will stretch (much) further to Audi’s RS3 or the Mercedes-AMG A45.
2017 Ford Focus RS Limited Edition pricing and specifications
Price: From $56,990 plus on-road costs
Engine: 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power: 257kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 440Nm (470Nm overboost) at 2000-4500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, all-wheel-drive
Fuel use: 7.7L/100km
source : drive.com.au