Ford Focus RS Promises Cheaper Thrills

There was no question that the 2016 Ford Focus RS was going to be quick. That was always a given. No, the question was always “how quick?”.

Now we know. With 350PS and 440Nm the turbocharged 2.3-litre Ecoboost propels the Focus to 62mph in just 4.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 165mph. That’s nearly a whole second faster than the previous fastest Focus, the RS500, and it’s a lot cheaper than that limited edition RS.

It’s hardly a surprise that this is the fastest accelerating RS model ever, that’s progress for you! What is a surprise is the price that Ford are asking for this level of performance – just £28,940.

In terms of thrills gained against hard-earned money spent there’s nothing that can touch it. It’s cheaper than a 300PS Golf R and makes the Leon Cupra, Megane Renaultsport and Astra VXR look under-endowed. What it emphatically does is stick two fingers up at the Audi RS3 and AMG A45, who tried to convince us that almost £40k was acceptable for a hot hatch. Jürgen Gagstatter, chief program engineer for Focus RS, puts it quite politely:

“The all-new Focus RS delivers stunning performance and innovative technology at a price that will make both our customers and premium automakers look twice. After experiencing the acceleration and cornering capability of the Focus RS, drivers will question the sense in spending almost £10,000 more on a premium competitor.”

So in other words, you’d have to be barking mad to spend another £10k on one of the German rivals. Unless you really, really want some of those pretty headlights.

2016 Ford Focus RS

Performance & Economy 2016 RS 2009 RS 2010 RS500
Engine 2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmission 6-speed manual, front-engined, all-wheel drive 6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive 6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive
Power (PS / bhp) 350 / 345 300 / 295 350 / 345
Torque (Nm / lb.ft) 440 / 324
(470 / 346 on overboost)
440 / 324 460 / 339
0 – 62 mph (seconds) 4.7 5.9 5.6
Top Speed (mph) 165 163 165
CO2 Emissions (g/km) TBA 225 235
VED Band TBA K L
Combined Economy (mpg) TBA 30.1 28.5
Price (OTR) £28,940 £27,925 £35,437

2016 Ford Focus RS (08)
2016 Ford Focus RS Interior
Ford Focus RS Dynamic Torque Vectoring
2016 Ford Focus RS (09)
2016 Ford Focus RS (07)
2016 Ford Focus RS (10)

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Every Little Counts For SEAT Leon Cupra 290

Remember the SEAT Leon Cupra 280? Launched at the start of 2014 to a flood of praise and accolades (including from myself), it was seen as one of the best hot hatches on the market. Well, that’s so last year, because the Cupra 280 is gone.

SEAT Leon Cupra 290 01

SEAT Leon Cupra 290

Instead we’ve got a Leon Cupra 290 and, as you might have guessed, it’s got a power increase of 10PS courtesy of a mild ECU remap. Which might not seem like much but, as a certain supermarket giant likes to remind us, every little counts. It takes the Leon’s output even closer to the Golf R, beats the Focus ST with ease and matches the Megane 275’s recent power hike.

Not that you’ll notice much difference. The official acceleration times for the Cupra 290 are exactly the same at 5.7 seconds for the DSG and 5.8 for the manual transmission and top speed is still limited to 155mph. Economy and CO2 emissions are identical but the peak torque of 350Nm is at least available across more of the rev range than before, from 1,700rpm all the way to 5,800 rpm.

Of course, you could go to an aftermarket tuner and get 4 or even 5 times the power increase along with some extra torques for a few hundred quid. The trouble is that might upset SEAT’s warranty department so if you want a little more power this is one way of getting it without affecting your Leon’s warranty.

No official word on prices yet but expect to see a slight increase from the 280’s £28,485 OTR.

SEAT Leon Cupra 290 02

SEAT Leon Cupra 290

Model 2015 Leon SC Cupra 290 2015 Leon SC Cupra 290 DSG 2014 Leon SC Cupra 280 2014 Leon SC Cupra 280 DSG
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed dual-clutch automatic 6-speed manual 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Engine 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power (PS / bhp) 290/287 290/287 280/276 280/276
Torque (Nm /lb.ft) 350/258 350/258 350/258 350/258
Kerb Weight (kg) 1,395 1,421 1,395 1,421
MPG 42.2 42.8 42.2 42.8
Top Speed 155 155 155 155
0-62 mph (s) 5.8 5.7 5.8 5.7
CO2 156 149 156 149
VED G F G F
Price £TBA £TBA £28,485 £29,840

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350PS And 470Nm From Ford Focus RS

350PS, or 345bhp in old money. That’s a lot of power for any road car but when it’s coming from a mid-sized five door hatchback its bordering on the obscene.

2016 Ford Focus RS (07)

2016 Ford Focus RS

It is, if you haven’t already guessed, the output of the 2.3 litre Ecoboost that propels the Ford Focus RS. Despite losing a cylinder and 200cc displacement the new engine pushes out the same grunt as the limited edition RS500 from 2010, backed up by 440Nm of torque (or 470Nm on overboost, which kicks in for 15 second bursts on full buy ativan online cheap throttle).

No news on the 62mph time or terminal velocity, but suffice to say it’ll be bloody quick thanks to all-wheel drive.

Ford aren’t messing about. The RS’s only serious rivals in the hot hatch world are the Audi RS3 (367PS for £39k) or the AMG A45 (365PS for £38k), and my gut says the RS will be a better drive than both.

With the first public sighting at Goodwood this weekend, it looks like the famous RS badge continues to go from strength to strength.

2016 Ford Focus RS

Performance & Economy 2016 RS 2009 RS 2010 RS500
Engine 2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmission 6-speed manual, front-engined, all-wheel drive 6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive 6-speed manual, front-engined, front-wheel drive
Power (PS / bhp) 350 / 345 300 / 295 350 / 345
Torque (Nm / lb.ft) 440 / 324
(470 / 346 on overboost)
440 / 324 460 / 339
0 – 62 mph (seconds) 4.7 5.9 5.6
Top Speed (mph) 165 163 165
CO2 Emissions (g/km) TBA 225 235
VED Band TBA K L
Combined Economy (mpg) TBA 30.1 28.5
Price (OTR) £28,940 £27,925 £35,437

2016 Ford Focus RS (10)
2016 Ford Focus RS (09)
2016 Ford Focus RS (07)
2016 Ford Focus RS (08)

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