2018 Ford Focus RS Review

A glimpse of greatness just out of grasp

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below now to watch my 2017 Ford Focus RS Review

Take the four-cylinder Ecoboost from the Ford Mustang, drop it into a Focus ST but crank up the power to 350bhp. Stiffen up the suspension by 30% and send drive to all four wheels with Torque Vectoring and chuck in a bunch of drive modes including launch control and ‘DRIFT’ mode.

2018 Ford Focus RS Review

Mix that all up and present in Nitrous Blue. This is the fabled Focus RS, come and gone too soon and tantalisingly out of reach – as it never went on sale in our market and is being phased out this year. First seen in 2015, it’s the modern-day Escort Cosworth, high on force-fed torque, pumped full of feisty brute DNA and unleashed on… well a soggy, slippery and somewhat sadistic Saturday on drenched February London streets.

2018 Ford Focus RS Review

Not ideal conditions to deploy Drift mode, launch control or frankly even dialling up any of those 347lb ft torques in anger. But flipping between ratios through that exquisitely judged manual gearbox with the surprisingly friendly clutch, and indeed clutching that sharp, accurate but meaty and meaningful steering wheel, and you can’t completely stave-off the inevitable descent of the red mist, as the naughty diminutive devil on your left shoulder urges you to give it some welly – which would be appropriate footwear in these conditions.

2018 Ford Focus RS Review

And what you get is take-your-breath away surge even in high gear at low revs on a sub-aquatic surfaces. You get poise that tries to draw you out of your fear of the slip and slide and instead start to slice and dice in and out of the corners. You get a grater-on-your-buttocks super hard ride beating out the rhythm of the road surface below through the thin skin of those sport shell seats clasping your posterior to such splendid effect. All the while you can be doing this as you’re hauling your family along in a practical five-door whilst tearing home with your Tesco shopping bouncing around in the boot.

2018 Ford Focus RS Review

If your waist could fit in the seats, your bum could take the drubbing, you could self-shift and were happy to pay around VW Golf R prices (the R has 50bhp less remember) you could have a modern day hot hatch legend  – but actually you could not. And you won’t because it’s going away now. Something tells me though that the legend won’t die here, and it’ll only get even more awesome. Just hold your horses and pray with me that the Gods of homologation deem fit to slap ‘GCC spec’ on the next iteration. I can’t wait!

 

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