With the third generation of Focus RS, Ford very much drew a line under the Max Power days that defined the first two generations of its homologation special. Subtly styled yet still with a sense of purpose, the 2016-on RS was all about the driving experience rather than any massive visual drama.
And what a car! With a 2.3-litre Ecoboost turbo engine developed for the Mustang, the RS offered 350bhp performance in a compact bodyshell, with incredible grip from its four-wheel-drive drivetrain and some trick features including Drift Mode, allowing you to put up to 70% of the power through the back wheels.
A true driver’s car, developed in conjunction with Swiss motorsport homologation experts CNG, the RS is every inch a modern classic. This one more than most. Registered in Northern Ireland, the heartland of tarmac rallying, the car has covered a genuine 955 miles from new. In Fast Ford terms, it’s barely run-in. Here, then, is a chance to get your hands on a 2017 RS that is in essence a nearly new car.
THE HISTORY AND PAPERWORK
Only 955 miles
Leather and Alcantara Recaro seats
Ford SYNC3 infotainment system
The subtle theme that defines the RS is apparent from the inside as it is from outside. The Recaro sports seats are trimmed in leather and Alcantara, with blue side stitching in performance Ford tradition.
The controls are the same as in a regular Focus, other than a trio of extra gauges atop the dashboard showing oil temperature, oil pressure and turbo boost. Everything else is pretty much as you’d find in a high-spec Focus hatch, including Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system which allows a level of smartphone integration.
Ford Diamond White
Black 19-inch alloys
Discreet styling upgrades
At first glance, this is a sporty Focus. But it hides its 350bhp light under a bushel, as it’s nowhere near as overt as the RS-badged Fords of the past. Up close, the clues are there. The RS-branded tailgate spoiler, the stealthy black alloys, the front splitter, rear diffuser, blue brake callipers and subtle blue RS badges, but it doesn’t shout about it. That part of the performance is left to the powertrain – it doesn’t need to show off.
As you’d expect for a car with less than 1,000 miles on the clock, it’s in very good condition throughout, the only minor detraction being a small stone-sized ding on one door which could very easily be smart-repaired.
2.3-litre Ecoboost turbo
350bhp, 0-60 in 4.7 secs, 165mph top speed
Brembo high performance brakes
The Ford Focus RS MK3 has a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder Ecoboost engine (also shared with the Mustang) that can reach a notable top speed of 165mph and can reach 0-60 in 4.7 seconds.
The 350bhp unit is coupled with a short-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, with features such as launch control and torque vectoring for the ultimate levels of traction.
It’s an absolute beast of a car to drive, with 4WD grip and ‘Drift Mode’, which switches the bias to the rear wheels should you wish to plug along enthusiastically. According to the vendor it is fantastic to drive with no known problems.
Fast Fords are collectable the minute they leave the showroom – and this one has barely left it, with less than 1,000 miles on the clock. As a future investment or simply a low-mileage Focus RS to enjoy and make the most of, it’s an enticing proposition.
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2017 Ford Focus RS CNG Technik
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