September 06, 2019 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2017 Ford Focus RS

The third generation Ford Focus RS, which is built in the Ford plant in Saarlouis, Germany, is essentially the very best performing affordable hot hatch there is today and will supposedly bow out at the end of 2018 with a celebratory Limited-Edition variant that receives a Quaife® mechanical limited slip differential in the front axle in place of the already brilliant Dynamic Torque Vectoring system that expertly manages all corners. Additional updates include new gloss black side mirror caps, roof, spoiler, with interior carbon fiber accents on the door handles, handbrake lever, turbo boost gauge, and the additional Race Red exterior color.

Ironically, the Focus RS is the most old-school high-performance driver’s car in the segment yet it actually uses one of the most sophisticated AWD drivetrains that may even be the very best front-wheel biased system I have ever tested. The AWD with Dynamic Torque Vectoring can actively shift up to 70% of the very potent available torque to the rear axle and distribute 100% of that to either rear wheel without any driver involvement besides deciding which drive mode to use to alter the car’s behavior. The result of the system is seamless almost completely neutral handling even when almost all the power is being blasted on the front wheels.

What we have here is the current test model in the cool signature Nitrous Blue Quad-Coat combined with the optional RS2 package ($2,785.00) and the bespoke 235/35R19 91Y Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 summer track tires on forged 19” x 8” alloys ($1,990.00). For a test car the tenacious tires were hugely enjoyable even on the street but the RS had to be driven very spiritedly to make up for the jumpy ride even with the suspension settings on Normal. On Sport mode and above, the adaptive suspension becomes about 40% stiffer which can be brutal if you are not on the circuit. The communication behind the steering wheel with these tires though is just outstanding.

The RS uses the EcoBoost 2.3-liter direct injection engine from the Mustang but with more aggressive tuning through the Honeywell twin-scroll fixed geometry turbocharger so power climbs significantly from 310 bhp to 350 bhp while torque jumps from 320 lb-ft to 350 lb-ft! The performance of the RS is so profound and usable that it actually edges out the current Mustang GT and decimates the Mustang EcoBoost, so much so that the 2018 models of both variants had to raise their game accordingly. The RS even drives to just an almost imperceptible knife’s edge slower than the GT350 with all the practical benefits of being a hatchback.

With all the speed that the RS can produce I’m thankful that it is packaged with Brembo 4-pot aluminum front calipers on 13.8” vented discs and 11.9” rear solid discs squeezed by single slider calipers to manage all the thrills in unison with the overworked Dynamic Torque Vectoring system. On the Track and Drift modes, the RS’ electronics adjust further accordingly creating tire shredding but confident driving experiences best applied on the track. With both synthetic and real engine/exhaust/drivetrain noises at your control, the RS elevates the Focus to almost ethereal levels of driving enjoyment which seriously overshadows every other sub-model variant. Unfortunately, when you are not blasting around like a delinquent, you do look around the cabin and you are instantly reminded of the car’s humbler lineage.

Sure, the supportive blue-accented front RECARO® leather with Miko®-Dinamica inserted seats, blue-stitched leather steering wheel, shift boot, side panels, and hand brake help a heck of a lot combined with the SYNC® 3 with 8″ LCD Capacitive Touchscreen, Sony® 10-speaker infotainment system and Smart-charging USB ports, but like in all the Rally-car inspired performance cars in the past like the Subaru WRX STI and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, it is expected. BUT, the Ford Focus RS is the very best of the whole genre. At this point only the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R with 7-speed DSG can top it.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4, 2261 cc, dohc 16V, Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo, TiVCT, 6-speed MT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 350 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 350 lb ft @ 2000-4500 rpm

Performance

Top Speed 265 km/h (165 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 4.6 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 19 mpg City / 25 mpg Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) US$ 42,245.00
What's Great Astonishingly potent, genuine supercar slayer capability, incredible value, fuel efficient.
What's Not So Not officially sold in the Philippines yet, interior needs updating, final 2018 model slightly better.
C! Editors Rating 10/10
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