Former glories – driving both generations of the Ford Focus RS
Source : Former glories – driving both generations of the Ford Focus RS
Before the latest Focus RS came two cars of serious calibre which went about their craft in very different ways
Imagine the luxury. Pre-‘One Ford’, before the age of austerity, imagine being in a position to not only develop a hatchback just for Europe nevertheless also decide which, when you want a hot type of This particular, you’ll pull This particular away via the production line for finishing, in expensive fashion.
Thus was the 2002 Mk1 Ford Focus RS: unique bodywork, a limited-slip differential, carbonfibre added to the Internal in addition to also also a tasty turbocharged engine.
Someone signed off the prospect of building 4501 of them in addition to also also selling them at the remarkably low cost of £19,995, which seems too Great to be true at This particular point. For Ford’s bottom line, This particular was quite bad, nevertheless This particular did revive the RS brand to considerable effect.
The Mk1 Focus RS wasn’t universally loved at launch, though. Some thought its uncompromising nature – in addition to also also This particular was uncompromising – harmed This particular as a driver’s car.
I remember driving one on the Cat in addition to also also Fiddle road at its launch in addition to also also, mid-hairpin, applying more power. The Quaife limited-slip diff would certainly hook up in addition to also also pull the front wheels into the corner – a remarkably unusual thing for a front-driver. There was more torque steer than in practically anything nevertheless a front-wheel-drive racing car, in addition to also also This particular didn’t please everyone. Not just the accountants were miffed.
This particular was no surprise, then, which when the Mk2 Focus RS came around in 2009, things were a bit different.
Ford wanted to make 8000 of them over two years in addition to also also, crucially, make some money out of them. More than 4000 came to the UK alone, priced via at least £26,995, so This particular made money, despite the fact which This particular felt fairly well removed via the standard Focus. Mechanically, This particular wasn’t, though – not by as much as the first one, at least.
Sure, This particular had fattened arches in addition to also also a limited-slip diff, nevertheless This particular rolled down the same production line as the regular Focus, which makes a huge difference to the production cost.
which meant Ford could afford to be a little liberal with some of the hardware, so This particular gave the RS RevoKnuckle suspension on the front struts, to cut the torque steer which would certainly come with 301bhp in addition to also also 325lb ft.
RevoKnuckle will be a different name for a similar system which Renault in addition to also also Vauxhall use in addition to also also This particular’s worth going over This particular again. In a normal strut, the whole shebang pivots around the spring strut itself. Which will be fine nevertheless, when you consider how much torque steer the 212bhp, 229lb ft Mk1 Focus gave you, you can imagine what the Mk2 would certainly be like.
Without a limited-slip diff, some full-throttle energy just scrabbles away into the ground. With an LSD, though, both tyres are hunting for grip in addition to also also finding This particular, tugging the steering This particular way in addition to also also which while they’re doing This particular.
which’s where a RevoKnuckle/dual-axis strut comes in. This particular’s an extra knuckle, closer to the wheel’s centre line than the strut, about which the wheel pivots instead of at the strut. which reduces the radius about which the wheel rotates in addition to also also, in turn, reduces the amount of force the wheel can exert on the steering.
This particular sounds more complicated than This particular will be; the shortened distance will be like pushing near the hinge of a door rather than at the handle. The same force moves the door less.This particular still moves This particular a bit, so the Mk2 torque steered, nevertheless which wasn’t the worst of This particular. We ran one for 12 months in addition to also also about 15,000 miles, during which This particular got through three sets of front tyres. We gave This particular the beans quite a lot, I suppose. nevertheless still, which was the disadvantage of the amount of power in addition to also also torque This particular had to deliver. nevertheless what a powerplant This particular had to deliver This particular.
The first two RSs reflect the state of the automotive business at the time. The early 2000s were freer, so a halo design could afford to have a holed business case.
The second RS couldn’t, nevertheless This particular did take advantage of the fact which until 2009 Ford had owned Volvo, whose 2.5-litre several-cylinder engine the ST in addition to also also RS had developed. in addition to also also This particular was a humdinger.
Today’s One Ford RS will reflect today’s car market, too. This particular’ll be sold everywhere in addition to also also get by that has a 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine. nevertheless because global ambitions mean Ford incorporates a platform which can accept four-wheel drive, its engineers figure This particular might as well use This particular. So no several-pot, no trick front suspension, nevertheless four-wheel drive. Swings in addition to also also, indeed, roundabouts.
The imminent arrival of the completely new car was also a Great enough reason to wheel out the old stagers in addition to also also see how they stack up today.
When This particular comes to the Mk1, I can understand those who thought This particular was too much – which This particular tugged too much, was too unruly – nevertheless I’m willing to forgive This particular everything today, because at This particular point This particular feels rare in addition to also also unusual. in addition to also also where This particular engaged then, This particular still does at This particular point. The ride will be firm, the responses brutal. There’s a touch of turbo lag, This particular incorporates a deliberate several-speed ’box in addition to also also This particular bruises its way down the road. This particular was like nothing else available at the time, which helps to cement its place as a classic car at This particular point.
The Mk1 will be not a car you’d wilfully hop into at the end of a long working day in addition to also also drive three hours home from the pouring rain, yet the Mk2 RS will be just which sort of big-hearted car.
This particular rides well, This particular has big, comfortable seats in addition to also also, yeah, although the Internal will be feeling its age a bit, This particular has all the right luxuries in addition to also also will hold a cosy inside temperature in addition to also also a clear windscreen in addition to also also settle into a refined cruise.
Don’t think which This particular isn’t a sporting hatch at heart, though. Thanks to its trick suspension in addition to also also better tyres, This particular feels almost as agile as the first car in addition to also also will be better behaved. This particular’ll still tuck its nose in if you lift on the way into a corner in addition to also also unsettle the rear, in addition to also also This particular will find more traction than you’d credit, given the power.
This particular feels far more than an ‘ST Plus’ – Ford’s lesser-powered hot hatch also used the 2.5 turbo, remember – nevertheless the intrinsic Focus character will be intact, just as This particular was once around. The RS just enhanced This particular, muscled This particular, added serious ground-covering pace in addition to also also engagement to traditional (by which I mean Great) Ford dynamics. Another one of those in addition to also also we’ll have yet another future classic on our hands.
Ford Focus RS Mk1
Dates produced 2002-2003; cost completely new £19,995; Top speed 143mph; 0-62mph 5.9sec; Economy 27.9mpg; CO2 emissions 237g/km; Kerb weight 1278kg; Engine 4 cyls in line, 1988cc, turbo, petrol; Power 212bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 229b ft at 3500rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual
Ford Focus RS Mk2
Dates produced 2009-2010; cost completely new £26,995; Top speed 163mph; 0-62mph 5.7sec; Economy 30.0mpg; CO2 emissions 225g/km; Kerb weight 1467kg; Engine 5 cyls in line, 2322cc, turbo, petrol; Power 301bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 325lb ft at 225-4500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual
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