Tag: Focus RS

By on May 10, 2019

When you give your car over to the dealership for repairs, you’re trusting them to fix it. You’re also trusting them not to take your pride and joy out for a Sunday drive so they can teach a co-worker how to drive stick. We figured this went without saying but last week showcasing exactly that.

A customer affected by Ford’s head gasket recall on the Focus RS had the good sense to install a dash cam before taking it into Hawk Ford of Oak Lawn, Illinois, resulting in eleven minutes of two men discussing all the odd noises the car makes as they clumsily pilot it around a residential area.

Despite the poor sound quality of the clip, some of those noises are audible and likely to cause minor physical comfort among highly sympathetic types. (Find Out…)

By on October 4, 2018

Somewhere along the way, somehow, the Sports Car Club of America lost the focus on fun. I know this, because a few years ago, after a particularly tedious conversation with some officials on the SCCA Solo Events Board about whether or not I had put the proper roll hoops on my car, I said, “Enough.” After about six years of national-level autocross, everything about dealing with the SCCA or participating in their events had become tedious, and nothing was fun.

The only way I ever had any fun at all was if I won, and since I had chosen to participate in the toughest and most highly subscribed class in autocross, the chances of that happening were becoming slimmer and slimmer all the time, and the costs were escalating to the point where road racing became a cheaper option. Think how crazy that is. So, I quit.

But three years ago, the SCCA began its Track Night program. Two years ago, . And just like that, thanks primarily to the efforts of Heyward Wagner and his experiential team, the SCCA became fun again. It wasn’t all about spring rates and spoiler heights and tire width and thousandths of seconds — it was about having fun with cars.

So imagine how bummed I was when I started to hear rumors that Targa was dead, the victim of high costs and low ROI. Sure enough, the rumors were followed by an email that confirmed its untimely murder, but there was hope — Targa was being replaced by a new program called “” The idea was to have an event that Track Night participants could evolve into — maybe wheel-to-wheel racing is too intimidating or costly, but they’d still like to be able to compete against the clock on a track, not in a parking lot.

After running a couple of regional events as warm-ups, the SCCA held their first Time Trials Nationals event this past weekend at NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There was no way I was going to miss it. So I didn’t. I packed up my Focus RS with all the tools and driving gear I could fit in the hatch, pulled my son out of school on a Friday, and headed west to find out what this new program was all about. And what I found out was that running a bone stock car against the clock is a hell of a lot of fun.

(Find Out…)

By on March 5, 2018

2017 Ford Focus RS - Image: Ford

The Dutch seem to think so.

After bowing out of the North American market following a limited-edition run of 2018 models, Ford Focus RS production is expected to wrap up in April. The final versions see a special tune, adding an extra 20 horsepower to the the grippy hatch’s already healthy 350 hp rating. Officially, there’s been no word on a replacement.

Unofficially, how does 400 hp sound? (Find Out…)

By on January 19, 2018

2017 Ford Focus RS - Image: Ford

Did you watch HBO’s new David Simon show, The Deuce? It takes a while to get started, kind of like Season 2 of The Wire, also a Simon creation, but it eventually acquires some real momentum. Anyway, if you ever get around to seeing it, you will hear that the opening theme is a carefully edited version of Curtis Mayfield’s “(Don’t Worry) If There’s A Hell Below, We’re All Going To Go.”

One of the best sections of that song goes something like this:

Everybody praying
And everybody saying
But when come time to do
Everybody’s laying
Just talking ’bout, “Don’t worry”

As you’ll see below, however, when it comes to using performance automobiles for improbable-bordering-on-impossible family tasks, sometimes people do more than just lay around…

(Find Out…)

By on July 14, 2017

screen-shot-2017-07-13-at-10-48-12-am-610x588

“You know, that might be the answer – to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That’s a trick that never seems to fail.”

— Col. Korn, Catch-22

It never fails. I’ve visited dozens of Ford dealers this year in the course of my day gig, and they almost always have a Focus RS sitting prominently on the showroom floor. Sometimes, they have two. This week, I visited a dealer that had four.

“Hey, I’ve got one of those,” I said to him, pointing at a 2016 Nitrous Blue RS2 model.

“Would you like another one?” he pleaded. “I’m selling it below invoice.” A quick check of his inventory revealed that it had been sitting on his lot for 217 days, with the others eclipsing the 150 day mark — a lifetime at a Ford dealership.

Of course, we know that Ford has already decided to pull the plug on the RS, and they’re gonna send it off with a limited-edition run of 1500 cars with the RS2 package and a Quaife LSD (something the car has always desperately needed). But why? Why did a car that American hot hatch enthusiasts have been craving for decades see such a short existence in the States?

Ford dealers. Duh.

(Find Out…)

By on May 16, 2017

Volkswagen Golf R vs Ford Focus RS

You know what I miss? Besides the second season of Miami Vice, the Atari 800, and a country where grown men didn’t agree to appear in simpering photography sessions commemorating their emasculating engagements to former late-night legends of the Sig Ep house at Ohio State? I miss the days when automakers didn’t field an entry into every single possible automotive segment. I miss that halcyon period where Mercedes-Benz made sedans and Porsche made sports cars and never the twain needed to meet except in the destination garages of their superbly tasteful owners. Back when everybody stuck to their individual knitting, the products were better (for their time, of course) and the brand identities made more sense. I’m reminded of something that my musical idol and , Victor Wooten, once said: “Instead of learning other instruments … I take the time that I would spend learning those instruments … and I put that time into learning my instrument, you dig?”

As my future third-wife Este once sang, however, those days are gone. In $THE_CURRENT_YEAR, nearly every manufacturer competes in nearly every segment. Which brings me to this week’s question, submitted by an extremely verbose fellow who needs to choose a German hatchback.

(Find Out…)

By on November 4, 2016

Ford Fiesta ST and Ford Focus RS in Bark's driveway, Image: © 2016 Bark M./Paardensex

Yep, that’s my driveway. Based on my non-scientific observations and complete lack of research, I’m going to say I’m the only person in the world to have both a Ford Fiesta ST and a Ford Focus RS. Well, okay. I’m a person in the world who has a Fiesta ST and a Focus RS, which makes me uniquely qualified to compare the two.

“Hold up,” you might be saying. “Who compares a car that stickers for just over $23,000 with a car that runs $43,000 additional dealer markup?” (And yes, I know that you can get FiSTs for under $20,000 now. We’ll get to that.)

Well, it’s not as crazy of a comparo as you might think.

(Find Out…)

By on October 4, 2016

2016 Ford Focus RS, Image: Ford

We reported in July that Ford canceled a total of 220 Focus RS orders for model year 2016 and moved them to the 2017 model year. These orders were set to start cranking out of the Saarlouis factory as manufacturing resumed on August 15, with priority going to those orders first, but many customers are reporting no updates and no car in sight.

According to emails obtained by TTAC, one such customer is approaching the one year mark since placing his order on October 23, 2015, which was reportedly one of the first 400 placed as the customer received a special diecast Focus RS to commemorate the purchase.

But where’s the car?

(Find Out…)

By on August 30, 2016

2016 Ford Focus RS

Alex writes:

Hi Bark,

The lease on my BMW M235i runs out next summer and I’m looking at options for my next car. I’m mostly considering the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, and Volkswagen Golf R, but also the Ford Fiesta ST (since you’ve praised your FiST so much) and Ford Mustang GT (because it’s a Mustang?).

I don’t really like the Golf R because it’s the only car on this list that doesn’t have Recaro seats and, well, it looks almost identical to the much cheaper, baseline Golf.

I ed my local Ford dealer about the RS and they urged me to put down a $2,000 deposit since they don’t get many units and they’re selling fast.

My hesitation: I’ve never really driven a manual car outside of iRacing (online racing simulator) and an hour I had with a Corolla with 170,000 km on the clock, so I’m not sure that I’d like to drive a manual every day.

What do you think would be my best course of action?

Sincerely,
Alex

Alex, my friend, sit down. We need to talk.

(Find Out…)

By on July 26, 2016

2016 Ford Focus RS

Customers are having their 2016 Ford Focus RS orders cancelled, and the automaker is giving differing reasons as to why, depending on who you ask.

Ford is telling dealers and buyers who placed orders for Ford’s hottest hatch that they’ll receive 2017 models instead. This, for a model Ford said it could build as many as customers wanted. (Find Out…)

By on November 12, 2015

2016 Ford Focus RS

There may be a quicker one coming.

That’s if you believe what . According to the British publication, Ford engineers in Europe are already be whispering there could be a lighter, quicker version of the 2016 Ford Focus RS coming. Engineers are reportedly aiming for a sub-4 second 0-60 run.

The increased performance won’t come by way of a bigger engine however — the laws of thermodynamics in cramped spaces preclude a bigger bolt-on snail, apparently — but rather the ol’ Colin Chapman route: adding more lightness. (Find Out…)

By on October 12, 2015

Focus RS Engineers Drop the Hammer

“Idiot-proof” is a little harsh. Maybe “Idiot-helping.”

Ford on Monday announced that the Focus RS would sport 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque — up from 345 and 324 respectively — and have a “stall recovery” feature that restarts the car if you’re a beginner with three pedals in a $36,000 hot hatchback.

The feature is an evolution of start-stop technology, according to Ford. If a driver stalls the Focus RS at a light, the engine will start itself by pressing the clutch again — without shifting into neutral. We asked a Ford spokesman if the feature could be disabled — similar to start-stop in other cars — for situations such as push-starting, but didn’t immediately hear back.  (Find Out…)

By on September 16, 2015

Ford released Wednesday specifications for its newest hatchback and god is in the details.

The 2016 Ford Focus RS, which will be delivered to European customers in early 2016, will have 345 horsepower (we already knew that), 324 pound-feet of torque (we knew that, too), 347 pound-feet of torque during 15 seconds of overboost (oh?); a top speed of 165 mph and a manufacturer-quoted 0-62 mph time of 4.7 seconds.

The Focus RS will sport “Launch Control” and “Drift Mode” buttons because you’ve earned that right, America. The Focus RS will go on sale in the U.S. in Spring 2016.

Ford in Europe announced that the Focus RS would start at €39,000 ($43,910), or roughly €10,000 ($11,250) more than its Focus RS. If the Focus RS in the States is $11,000 more dear than our Focus ST, initial prices for the uber hatch should start around $35,500.

(Thanks to bball40dtw for pointing out the Focus RS is on the configurator now with a price of $35,730 + destination).

(Find Out…)

By on September 10, 2015

007

For those of you who haven’t been keeping track, I’m now a little over one quarter of the way through my 24-month Fiesta ST lease. It’s hard to believe that I’ve had the car this long, but it’s true. I just clicked past the six-thousand-mile mark on the odometer, and I’m just about to make payment number seven, so I’m driving it a little less than I’m permitted to by my lease. That being said, I have driven it more than double the amount of miles that I’ve put on my Boss 302 during the same timeframe.

As I was driving it to Ohio this week from my Old Kentucky Home, chewing up the hilly I-75 North route between Lexington and the Greater Cincinnati Area, a terrible thought occurred to me:

In just about seventeen months, I’m going to have to give the FiST back, and I absolutely don’t want to.  (Find Out…)

By on June 25, 2015

2016 Ford Focus RS

Ahead of its arrival at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England, the 2016 Ford Focus RS’ horsepower figures were officially revealed.

(Find Out…)

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