FORD FOCUS RS
Starting at £32,765; the Ford Focus RS is the cheapest of direct competitors such as the Mercedes AMG A45 and VW Golf R.
TECH SPEC BREAKDOWN:
Engine: 2.3-litre turbocharged EcoBoost
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Max speed: 165mph
Economy: 36.7 mpg (combined)
Introducing the Ford Focus RS; the latest model to wear the famous RS badge. Those letters follow a long line of affordable high-performance Fords, starting way back in 1968 with the introduction of the 15M RS, with the Escort RS1600, Sierra RS Cosworth and Escort RS Cosworth arriving later.
The very first Focus RS model was front-wheel drive and arrived on UK roads back in 2002, complete with a wider body, Quaife limited-slip differential and increased power to shock the masses. In 2009 came the Mk2. Again featuring front-drive and an increased power of 301bhp, along with RevoKnuckle front suspension. Seven years on, here you have the Mk3.
Succumbing to pressure from competition such as the Mercedes AMG A45 and Audi RS3, Ford has changed up the front-wheel drive tradition of past RS-badged Focus' and fitted a new electronically controlled twin-clutch four-wheel drive system for optimum traction.
Powered by a Cosworth-tuned version of the Mustang's 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol lump and adding a twin-scroll turbo with a larger compressor for better airflow, as well as a larger intercooler, the car has an output of 345bhp and can reach 0-62mph in just 4.7-seconds, before hitting its top speed of 165mph. It has four drive modes to choose from including Normal, Sport, Track and Drift, of which you can select via a button to the right of the centre console.
If the aforementioned power levels aren't enough for you, tuning specialists such as Mountune and American performance company Hennessey have both created upgrade packs taking power to 370bhp and 405bhp, respectively - at a cost, of course!
This car gets a lush set of Race Style Recaro RS shell seats - an option at £1,145 - as well as 19-inch black forged alloy wheels (£975) and the exclusive Nitrous Blue paint (£745). And the Brembo brakes have been colour coordinated at an extra cost of £100. Inside, you get Ford's Sync 3 system, meaning you get an 8-inch touchscreen display, satnav, smartphone compatibility, DAB radio and Bluetooth, along with ten Sony speakers, and good storage to the centre console and door cards.
while in terms of emissions it's not as bad as you'd think for a car of this type and power output, at just 175g/km of CO2.
All in all; the Ford Focus RS is a cracking driver's car, to boot!