Coming from a 2015 Focus ST LZ, this car is not just an upgrade or swap-over. Its raw power alone will put a smile on your face every time you take off at the lights. The difference between the two cars is chalk and cheese when it comes to handling and performance, and yet both cars are fun to drive.
The Focus RS demands to be driven, and is not a car you want to be lazy in as you go around the corners. You need to be in the right gear at the right time to take full advantage of the power and handling. But it’s still comfortable enough for your daily commute to work on a freeway if you want.
The Brembo brake package has incredible stopping power and feel, with very little brake fade compared to the ST. The racing seats are comfortable, but could use seat-height adjusters like the ST, and I found them to be a little more forgiving on the bolsters compared to the super-tight ST seats.
The best remark I’ve had, while talking on the phone with a mate, was when I gave it a bit and a few crackles and pops came from the exhaust. His comment with a laugh and enjoyment was, “I can’t believe you get that in a stock car”. The best part is you don’t need to add any bolt-ons to get extra performance out of the car if you don’t want to, and you will still impress plenty of people on the road and car meets, if that’s your thing.
Launch control is exciting to use, and so is Race mode. I’m not into drifting, nor do I know how to drift, so I guess that feature won’t be used, but I did not buy it for Drift mode. I bought it because it is a Focus RS, and I always wanted one since they were first released.
The 2017 RS comes with Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, which is nice with added Android Auto or Apple Car Play. But coming from the SYNC 2 system, things are missing. I was being a little lazy on the freeway and tried to use voice control to adjust the climate control, only to find it was not available as a voice command or on the large touchscreen. A little disappointing, if you ask me.
Some other things taken away between the two are: split mirrors on the passenger side, heated mirror symbol (I thought this feature was not available in the RS until I was happily surprised it worked; and one of the boot lights have been removed as well (interestingly, later ST models also got one of the boot lights removed). The things they do to save production costs.
With 19-inch low-profile tyres, you feel more bumps on the road compared to an 18-inch low profile, but the Pilot Cup tyres that came with my performance wheels have less road noise compared to the Eagle F1 or Bridgestone R003 tyres I put on the ST.
In general, if you want a pocket rocket with the works, the RS is for you. Not only does it look aggressive, but it also likes to be driven aggressively, and yet is still comfortable enough to be your daily.