Not too long ago, I wrote a review for my 2013 Focus ST I affectionately named 'STewie'. By far the best car I'd ever owned to date, STewie converted me from a Nissan man to a Ford man. With the phase-out of the Focus RS coming, late last year I was battling with myself whether I should upgrade from a perfectly good car, which I loved, to my dream car before it was too late. A few laps of a track in an RS with Marty from Mighty Car Mods and a good deal from the dealer convinced me to dive in and I haven't looked back.
Despite many shared parts, the RS is a completely different beast to the ST. Firstly, the AWD grip is phenomenal and provides a level of sure-footedness not many other cars can provide. The 257kW engine is amazing and can whip up to speed in no time at all. The sound from the exhaust, with the cracks and pops at higher revs, makes you just want to drive it harder, obviously to the detriment of fuel consumption! I've had the RS on a dyno too, and had a respectable 217kW at the wheels.
The looks, now, are exactly what I want. There were two things that bugged me about the looks of the RS – the standard spokey silver alloys and the tail-lights shared with the base hatches. A few bucks thrown at some matte-grey Niche alloys and new smoked-grey aftermarket LED tail-lights from Boosters Garage makes the RS stand out from the crowd. Add some tinting and some blue RS badging around the body, and this is a car you have to walk away from backwards, just to keep staring at it.
Technology-wise, the car (almost) has it all. Sat-nav, CarPlay, streaming etc is all brilliant, as is the 8.0-inch touchscreen. It's just missing some of the latest safety tech like radar cruise and autonomous braking available on the newer competition. The sound quality from the system is great, but you never really turn it up that loud as the exhaust plays a symphony of its own.
Space- and comfort-wise, the RS is perhaps a little more practical than the ST, with slightly more room in the back due to the thin front seats. The seats, despite their lean dimensions, are super comfortable and well made by Recaro, front and rear. There's slightly less space in the boot due to the higher floor, where under the floor you'll find not a spare wheel, but a container of goop and an air compressor amongst a foam space-dividing system. No spare wheel is a little bit of a pain, as I discovered with a screw through the tread not so long ago. Being a slow leak I left it in, pumped up the tyre and headed to Bob Jane for a fix, which has been good since.
In the cabin are a few rattles that occur on rougher bitumen roads, which are a little annoying. And there are two different types of plastic where my left knee rests against the dash that squeak with any pressure. Why they changed that part of the dash with the newer model is beyond me – you don't even see it!
Now I've got the RS looking spot-on, I've even come up with a new name that suits perfectly – Louis! Named after the German town it was built, Saarlouis. I'm glad I've joined the Ford Performance ranks, as my RS is a car that ticks all my boxes, and I will proudly have it for years and years to come.