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RE: Ford Focus RS Mk2: PH Heroes

RE: Ford Focus RS Mk2: PH Heroes

Monday 21st November 2016

Ford Focus RS Mk2: PH Heroes

It was £25,000 in 2009 and it's still £20,000 now, so is the Mk2 Focus RS really worth it?



If 2009 doesn't seem all that long ago, then you certainly aren't alone. However, it's a jolly long time in the car world. Alright, so you can still buy a Vauxhall Corsa today that's broadly the same as in 2009, but the Ford Focus RS has changed drastically in that time.

See in addition to this Mk2, 'our' Mk3 RS was also brought along to sunny Essex for our Hero shoot. Their rightful home, you might say. There's a video and more detailed blog to follow comparing the two yet, even for just this Hero story, the newer car provides some valuable context.

Yep, definitely still got attitude
Yep, definitely still got attitude
Focusing in
Valuable context that makes the five-cylinder car seem initially a little - underwhelming is too harsh a word - just a bit plain actually. Bear with. In the new RS you're bombarded from the off with exhaust pops, super sharp steering and aggressive throttle response. The older car is considerably more relaxed: there's more lag, less noise and, odd though it may sound given how it was once received, an almost subdued gait. Bizarre.

That's a point we'll return to, but first some context on why the Mk2 Focus RS qualifies as a PH Hero. Back when it was shown at the London Motor show in 2008, more than 300hp in a front-wheel drive hot hatch was unheard of. The Focus ST had 225hp, an Astra VXR made 240 and even the quattro Audi S3 had 265hp. "Madness!" came the cries, particularly after one or two rather unruly Mk1 RSs were made. With 212hp.

Ford's solution was the innovative Revoknuckle front suspension, combining it with a front limited-slip differential in an attempt to give the Continentals a fighting chance. And it worked. Here was a front-wheel drive fast Ford with more than 300hp that wasn't a torque steering nightmare. The press reports returned raving; while it wasn't as sharp to drive as a Megane R26.R, there was easily enough talent to justify that hallowed nameplate. Anyone who thought the mouth outmatched the Ultimate Green trousers was soon answered. Back then and now, it's a car widely lauded by press and public alike.

Is it deserving of that affection? Certainly there are bigger differences between it and the new car than you may expect, particularly if you take them as a pair of fairly similar blue Ford hot hatches. As mentioned though, we'll deal with those in a separate story; here it's time to reflect on how good (or otherwise) the second Focus RS is.

Yep, still damn good to drive as well
Yep, still damn good to drive as well
High five
That engine remains a key part of the appeal. The range of modifications from the ST to RS was extensive, the latter benefitting from new con-rods, pistons and crank on top of the usual work around the turbo and exhaust. Drop 305hp and 324lb ft in a FWD hot hatch now and it would be competitive; back then it must have felt ballistic. While there's more lag and a little less willingness to rev than the latest hot hatch turbos, the mid-range feels super strong (thank the extra 500cc over most hot hatches for that) and the noise is fantastic. In case you hadn't guessed. It lends this RS a more endearing character than the four-cylinder cars, the noise more authentic and cultured than the augmented racket in the new RS. It's rewarding at all commitment levels and speeds, a properly exciting centre piece to base a car around.

Moreover, the RS still feels bloomin' quick. In a modern-day world of VAQ and cars from the showroom on Cup 2s, there was a danger that the RS's contemporary plaudits could look very outdated. Far from it. Naturally you have to be more considered with throttle applications than with a four-wheel drive car, but the way this car finds purchase through second and third gear is remarkable. There's the odd tug of the wheel here or there, plus a fondness for picking out camber changes, but rather than undermine the experience they enhance it; they're exciting traits, a reminder of just what the car is coping with. It's far from the unruly rocketship you might expect.

The steering is good, slightly slower (2.3 turns lock to lock against two) than the new car and electro-hydraulic rather than fully electric. The response is consistent, weighting spot on and there's enough feel coming back to let you know just how much more the front tyres have left to give. The gearbox is short and slick, if a touch light, and the brake pedal feels good; there's real polish to the dynamic set-up.

Here is where the magic happens
Here is where the magic happens
Mass movement
Weight and attitudes towards it are also things that have changed since 2009. See a hatch today with 305hp at 1,467kg (with a driver) and it's about average, rather than the total lard arse it may have seemed then. Place it in 2016 though and, while it's not suddenly a Renault 5 Turbo, the RS is more game than you might expect. Its turn-in response, mid-corner balance and traction are pretty damn good. As a Ford Heritage car and with limited time it's hardly an exhaustive test, and there's no doubt the new car is quicker down a road, but the Ford chassis magic of the 2000s certainly shines through today. If those initial impressions were a little disheartening, the RS has comprehensively charmed within a couple of hours.

Like all the most iconic fast Fords too, this Focus RS looks absolutely tremendous. It's aggressive and imposing and butch, spoiling to pick a fight with anyone and anything it comes across. The interior? As this is a celebratory piece we'll call the cabin of its time. That wasn't great for its time. If you thought the new car was bad then you ain't seen nothing yet!

A legendary RS and a worthy PH Hero too
A legendary RS and a worthy PH Hero too
The RS remains a hugely enjoyable car though. In the context of current hot hatches it feels less rabid than it will have just a few years back, but very likeable nonetheless. That engine plays a key part in that, occasionally in fact overshadowing the dynamic advancements this car introduced. No doubt the used values will make it appear all the more heroic in the eyes of owners too!

In fact, residuals are not a bad place at which to conclude. Not only is the Focus still a great driver's car, it looks to be an incredible investment. The very cheapest car for sale on PH at the moment is £16,000 with nearly 100,000 miles; cars with about average mileage start at £18,000 and there's even an RS500 for sale at £60K (!). For such a popular car (more than 4,000 came to the UK) with a £25K start price and lacking the exotic parts of the first RS, that's some achievement. To provide some context, a Megane R26.R - remember less than 200 came to the UK - will cost you about the same as a Focus RS. Crazy. So if you want a five-cylinder Focus RS, and there are plenty of reasons why you do, the current state of the market should be all the encouragement you need - there won't be another like it!


FORD FOCUS RS Mk2
Engine
: 2,522cc, 5-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 305@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 325@2,250-4,500rpm
0-62mph: 5.7sec
Top speed: 163mph
Weight: 1,467kg
On sale: 2009-2010
Price new: £26,995
Price now: £15,995-£32,000

[Sources: Ford]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

vanschpunk

Original Poster:

113 posts

137 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
No they arent!!! Prices artificially held high by the likes of RS Direct, to keep their business growing/afloat. And in turn, the market for them stays high!! They mouthed off that the mk3 FRS wasnt a true Rs and a heap of turd blablabla....and look they are at it with the Mk3 FRS.

Anyone who thinks a 6/7yr old Focus is worth more than a 6/7yr old BMW M3, needs their fking heads looked at!!

Butter Face

15,659 posts

85 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
vanschpunk said:
No they arent!!! Prices artificially held high by the likes of RS Direct, to keep their business growing/afloat. And in turn, the market for them stays high!! They mouthed off that the mk3 FRS wasnt a true Rs and a heap of turd blablabla....and look they are at it with the Mk3 FRS.

Anyone who thinks a 6/7yr old Focus is worth more than a 6/7yr old BMW M3, needs their fking heads looked at!!
I have to agree, a chap I know has just bought an Ultimate Green Mk2 for 20k+ and could have had for the same money, at the same garage, a V8 M3 (in yellow) that was newer and undoubtedly a better drive.

The prices are being kept high by Ford nuts and their notalgia IMO.

Also, Revoknuckle 'innovative'? Renault had the Perfohub at the same time!

FN2TypeR

3,998 posts

18 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
I love these, they look and sound mental - which is a good thing IMO, sod the quiet and understated hot hatch, I like 'em daft.

I don't twenty thousand pounds plus love them though, that's strong money and there is a variety of superb machinery out there for a similar outlay so it's just not appealing at that price point.

Still cool though cool

Mike1990

465 posts

56 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
Freakin love these! after driving my mates factory fresh example on modern Michelins i'am sold. I really do think i'd spend 25k on one rather than the modern 300+BHP Hatches. Mad i know.

Crafty_

11,332 posts

125 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
Rather gaudy looking things that apparently never really worked properly (many had very long stays in dealerships for issues, as I understand it complex electronics that limited power in certain scenarios), worshiped purely because of an RS badge by fast ford lovers. Seeming loved here on a financial basis.

Like the Mk3 a car that has never held any interest for me.

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Section 8

268 posts

114 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
I have always had a secret admiration for the mk 2 . It just looks a bit cartoonish and daft with it's wide arches and vents, especially next to more played down hot hatches like the golf R that looks dare i say a bit bland. Would i pay 20 grand for one though? No way pedro!

ambuletz

6,469 posts

106 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
too flash for something with 'only' 300hp. much prefer the look of the mk1 focus RS because at least with that the looks are rather subtle.

scott-3pjrj

144 posts

15 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
Had my MK2 RS for 4 years tuned it to 420bhp it was beast of a car never had any real issues with it absolutely loved it shocked a few so called super cars along the way only sold after listening to the Ford marketing men and ordered MK3 RS .My mate paid 3k over list price to get a early MK3 had a test drive of it its absolutely crap compared to a MK2 cancelled order immediately with Ford my mate got shot of it within 3 weeks last time I looked on here there was 49 of them up for sale !!!

RamboLambo

4,062 posts

95 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
Its a true enthusiasts car and a legend. Those that don't get it, never will but if you have petrol in your blood you will understand and no doubt really want one.

As regards values I recently turned down a genuine bid of £27k for my concours low mileage MR375 Clubsport (full mountune spec )and prices are only going to go up as it becomes a collectors car.
Just look at Escort and Sierra Cosworth prices at £50k.
A good Mk II Focus RS will command similar money in 10 years time

KingNothing

2,040 posts

78 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
I've had mine for nearly 2 years now, currently running it at 420bhp without fault. Mk.3 doesn't interest me at all as it doesn't look outlandish enough for me. I'll be keeping this for a good few more years.

scott-3pjrj

144 posts

15 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
RamboLambo said:
Its a true enthusiasts car and a legend. Those that don't get it, never will but if you have petrol in your blood you will understand and no doubt really want one.

As regards values I recently turned down a genuine bid of £27k for my concours low mileage MR375 Clubsport (full mountune spec )and prices are only going to go up as it becomes a collectors car.
Just look at Escort and Sierra Cosworth prices at £50k.
A good Mk II Focus RS will command similar money in 10 years time
I sold mine for 1k more than I paid 4 years earlier big mistake mad

PunterCam

624 posts

120 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
I've always thought they were fabulous, and it's only the interior that put me off at the time. But it's only a few years ago.. The article with it's "back then it must have felt..." nonsense is pretty dodgy. Cars always get faster, but you don't judge them on that - speed is always superseded, so why go on about it?! How a car feels and steers is always relevant, and these are quite special things.. Stupid styling (in a good way, unlike the new civic that just looks cheap), a proper engine... Sure, they're worth what they're worth.

Mike1990

465 posts

56 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
RamboLambo said:
Its a true enthusiasts car and a legend. Those that don't get it, never will but if you have petrol in your blood you will understand and no doubt really want one.

As regards values I recently turned down a genuine bid of £27k for my concours low mileage MR375 Clubsport (full mountune spec )and prices are only going to go up as it becomes a collectors car.
Just look at Escort and Sierra Cosworth prices at £50k.
A good Mk II Focus RS will command similar money in 10 years time
Yours sounds perfect, the Clubsport is the one with the stripped Rear and Cage?

macky17

1,777 posts

114 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
Overpriced and overrated but a good car. Lots of character, handles well enough and looks great I think (just not in green). I sold mine as the ride is really too crashy for a daily. Proper suspension and an mr375 pack and *maybe* it's still worth £20k... Until you look at what else that buys you (Megan 275 cup with ohlins/akrapovic/recaros? Vxr8? E90 m3? C63 amg? i.e. you gotta love Fords).

SidewaysSi

3,833 posts

159 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
RamboLambo said:
Its a true enthusiasts car and a legend. Those that don't get it, never will but if you have petrol in your blood you will understand and no doubt really want one.

As regards values I recently turned down a genuine bid of £27k for my concours low mileage MR375 Clubsport (full mountune spec )and prices are only going to go up as it becomes a collectors car.
Just look at Escort and Sierra Cosworth prices at £50k.
A good Mk II Focus RS will command similar money in 10 years time
I have petrol in my blood. I understand. But I have no interest in them whatsoever. Much better cars out there for similar money.

DanielSan

12,233 posts

92 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
RamboLambo said:
Its a true enthusiasts car and a legend. Those that don't get it, never will but if you have petrol in your blood you will understand and no doubt really want one.
What a load of bks, there's nothing legendary about it, mk2's, Cosworth's etc all have competition pedigree, the Mk2 RS is a car mostly renowned for being driven by tts who are in competition with each other to put the worst graphics possible on their cars.

What you're saying is that anyone who doesn't like it 'doesn't get it' which means literally fk all and if you don't like it you're not a petrolhead? I'm convinced this is a disease that some people catch when someone dares not to like the same car as them and then sprout some nonsense reason for why they must be wrong with their opinion.


Is a Mk2 RS worth even close to 20grand? Is it balls.

RamboLambo

4,062 posts

95 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
SidewaysSi said:
I have petrol in my blood. I understand. But I have no interest in them whatsoever. Much better cars out there for similar money.
Sorry failed - not a true petrolhead rofl

RamboLambo

4,062 posts

95 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
DanielSan said:
What a load of bks, there's nothing legendary about it, mk2's, Cosworth's etc all have competition pedigree, the Mk2 RS is a car mostly renowned for being driven by tts who are in competition with each other to put the worst graphics possible on their cars.

What you're saying is that anyone who doesn't like it 'doesn't get it' which means literally fk all and if you don't like it you're not a petrolhead? I'm convinced this is a disease that some people catch when someone dares not to like the same car as them and then sprout some nonsense reason for why they must be wrong with their opinion.


Is a Mk2 RS worth even close to 20grand? Is it balls.
No absolutely right its not worth just £20k - I turned down £27k you doughnut so mines in excess of that even if I was prepared to part company with it, which I'm not. re visit this thread in 10 years and you will see a £50k Mk II for sure

kambites

53,083 posts

146 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
One of those cars that I think of as objectively fairly impressive but subjectively not remotely desirable.

Leins

6,290 posts

73 months

Sunday 20th November 2016
quotequote all
Great that owners love them, but think I'd prefer an R26R myself. It just seems to do the "mad hot hatch" thing a little better