There are some excellent models in Ford's current Focus lineup, especially when it comes to the outstanding ST performance models. However, there's one performance version of the car we've only been able to view from the other side of the Atlantic until now, and that's the rally-inspired RS version. Thankfully, the latest version of this modern day legend is now on sale here for the first time, so it's now safe to take a closer look at the 2016 Ford Focus RS without the pain of finding it's only available in Europe.
One thing's for sure, if you like your performance cars to be something of a wolf in sheep's clothing, the fabulously overt styling of the 2016 Ford Focus RS probably isn’t going to be for you. To be fair to the manufacturer, plenty of what you see is probably necessary in terms of aerodynamics to assist with the car's blistering performance, but there's also more than a hint of the dramatic thrown in for good measure. Unlike some cars you see that may talk-the-talk but don’t necessarily walk-the-walk, there's nothing promised by the styling of the RS the car itself can deliver on and then some.
At the heart of this beast of a compact hatch is a version of the turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that's also found in the current Mustang. In the Focus RS though, the powerplant puts out 350 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque, and that power drives all four wheels, unlike its front-wheel-drive European predecessors. To re-emphasize the true driving credentials of the RS, it's only available with a six-speed manual transmission to totally immerse you in the pure driving experience offered by this remarkable car.
As you'd probably expect from the numbers above, the 2016 Ford Focus RS is a pretty capable performer to say the least. Yes, it'll get you to 60 mph from a standing start in just 4.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 165 mph, but that's only part of the story. The real fun offered by this car comes when the road or track gets bendy and twisty. We already know the Focus sits on a chassis that is simply superb, but when you add into the mix the plethora of braking, suspension and handling upgrades the RS benefits from, you quickly realize this is a very special car indeed.
And if you think the RS will be some sort of Spartan, stripped-down lightweight racer you wouldn't want to live with as your daily driver, then think again. The Focus RS has a list of standard and available features any well-equipped family sedan would be more than proud of.
*All vehicle mileage based on 2016 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.