The Focus RS has a clever rear axle/drive unit (made by GKN), which rotates the rear driveshafts 1.8 percent faster than the road speed, but controls that speed via two multi-plate clutches (one for each wheel) that can individually close to distribute power side to side. Incidentally, that torque-vectoring diff is what makes the Focus RS' "drift mode" possible.
There are four driver modes: Normal, Sport, Track, and Drift. Each successively hardens the responses of the steering, throttle, damping, all-wheel-drive system, stability control, and exhaust noise. The famous drift mode softens the dampers and steering, but puts more power to the outside rear to break the traction.
From the outside, to be honest, the RS looks understated, and even a bit boring. But rest assured, the performance is far from that.
The interior is the one significant letdown on the car. It's standard Focus aside from the Recaro seats, which means the center console is dated and everything is very, very black.
At $35,730 the RS is something of a bargain, but add in any paint color other than black (something sounding familiar here?), hard-backed front seats which you need if you want to give your rear passengers any kind of leg room, or even a sat nav and a glitzy Sony stereo, and you're speeding past $40k so fast you'll barely see it.
Through a series of long bends the RS flows beautifully and feels gorgeous, but tighter corners demand precision and determination to turn in accurately. The finesse of previous RS models isn't quite there.
The ride is as choppy as you'd expect. But the suspension, when working in tandem with the custom Michelin's, allow for a beautifully progressive slip of the rears.
Turbo lag is there, but minor. The whoosh of acceleration is intoxicating. However, if you keep frugal, you can get 25 mpg.
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2016 Ford Focus RS First Drive
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Each of the previous two Focus RS models have been the acme of the possible in a small hatchback. This 2016 Focus is no different, and it'll be available in the States.
Vehicle Info: 2016 Ford Focus RS