The original Focus RS was the first truly performance-oriented Focus, and in fact the first RS Ford since the legendary Escort Cosworth. Big boots to fill, yet the 212hp Focus was not only less powerful but also front- not four-wheel drive. And yet, it was absolutely mega. The Quaife front differential did suffer from torque steer, but it also delivered unimaginably good traction out of corners, while the rest of the package was like a regular Focus on steroids – i.e. great to drive, and hilariously aggressive.
The Focus RS returned in Mk2 form in 2009, this time with a version of the Volvo-sourced 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine doing the hard work. As with the 2006 ST, it sounded fantastic, but instead of 225hp, it had 205hp, courtesy (in part) of a larger turbo, a new intercooler and a stronger crank. It was still front-drive, but added a clever front suspension system that Ford called RevoKnuckle as well as the limited-slip front differential to help cope with the extra power – even more necessary with the 350hp limited-run RS500.
The Mk3 RS arrived in 2016. It no longer had the five-cylinder engine, but the 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder made 350hp as standard. For the first time, the Focus also got four-wheel drive – and a clever torque vectoring system that could send up to 70 per cent of the car’s power to the back axle. It even had a Drift Mode for those interested in a bit of sideways fun.