"You've got a fast car, is it fast enough so you can fly away? You've gotta make a decision, leave tonight or live and die this way." Wasn't 1988 a great year? Too bad it had to come to an end. We really enjoyed listening to Tracy Chapman's fast car and other tunes that were huge hits back then. Unfortunately, even good things have got to come to an end, just like the production of the Ford Focus RS. On the upside, the fantastic RS enters its final year of production brimming to the very top with performance "stuff" and a track-ready body.
This kick-ass hatch comes with a 350 hp turbo four engine that is mated to a six-speed manual that sends power to all fours thanks to a torque vectoring mechanism. Forget the winter worries. Forget the dirt stricken vehicle ruts in the country and the gravel by the grounds. All-wheel drive is here for you. This is definitely not a ride in one of those luxury cars, but if you can manage to hang in there, you will enjoy one hell of a ride.
What's new for 2018?
Bad news first, this is the final year of the Focus RS's production. 100 of these will be sold in the US and 500 examples in Canada. There are only two colors in which the limited model will be offered; Nitrous Blue and Race Red. There are new gloss-black features on the exterior, which includes the roof, mirror caps, and the rear spoiler. Standard for 2018 is a set of painted 19-inch wheels and the RS2 package which includes heated Recaro seats and voice-activated navigation. The front axle will feature a limited slip differential while the cabin gets some extra carbon fiber.
Which trim levels & features are on offer?
The 2018 Ford Focus RS is arguably a mega hatch that walks on paths normally reserved for dedicated sports cars. It is available in one fully loaded trim level and this being its final year of production there will not be much to choose from. It comes standard with a turbocharged 2.3 liter inline four engine that produces 350 horses and 350 lb-ft of torque. The power is sent to all four wheels via a standard torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system.
What's under the hood?
The heart of the RS is Ford's 2.3 liter turbocharged inline four which develops up to 257kW of power and 440Nm of torque, which in brief moments of full-throttle can expand to 470Nm. This is not your usual engine; it's pretty powerful especially for a car of its size. It even sends some beautiful music out of the exhaust; this is made even more sweet to the ear by the snap at every shift of the manual transmission. All these work in tandem with launch control to help you achieve 0-100km/h in a swift 4.7 seconds and proceed to hit a top speed of 266 km/h. Heavenly.
How's the interior?
The RS's interior does not boast of the sleekest flow but is more of a functional one for the spirited driver. It is straightforward, but the Sync3 system is not that easy to set up and use. Rear seats are heated, but they lack climate control vents and power outlets which happen to be really outdated. The Recaro seats are quite supportive, but many drivers might find them too confining due to the prominent side bolsters. There is little legroom for rear passengers so avoid the long drive with people back there.
What is the price?
The details on the exclusive RS are yet to be released but with the current base RS going for $36,000 we are certain that the limited version will cost well above $40,000. A bit steep by its category's standards but that is what a limited badge attracts.