If anything, this new Focus RS has more in common with the picnic-table-winged Escort RS Cosworth than the previous Focus RS as it too is four-wheel drive. Power comes from a four-cylinder 2.3-litre petrol engine that also stars in the new Ford Mustang. It pumps out 350hp – helping make this the fastest Focus ever sold. If that seems like a small number, independent tuner Mountune can take it up to 375hp for £1,050.
Although the four-wheel-drive system is worthy of note, it’s what Ford has done with it that is really exciting. Instead of giving the Focus a super-planted setup, the firm’s gone the other way – using high-tech mechanicals and clever electronics to make the car easy to slide and, by virtue of this – a hoot to drive. It’s fun in a way that its accomplished rivals – the Audi RS3, Mercedes A45 AMG and Golf R – have never quite managed.
This is not only a really fast car both on road and on track – it’s also amazingly good fun
A comprehensive aero kit is tasked with ensuring your RS is never mistaken for the 1.5-litre diesel model driven by your elderly neighbour. It amounts to a deep front bumper, rear diffuser and boot-lid-mounted spoiler that not only looks good, but also helps with stability, while the gaping grille keeps the engine cooled.
What’s likely to be one of the RS model’s biggest lures is a price that undercuts all of its rivals – some by a considerable margin.
For a more detailed look at various aspects of the Ford Focus RS, look at the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, to see what sort of offers are available on the Focus RS, look at our deals page.