I’m going to drive the 2016 Ford Focus RS two days from now both on public roads and on a track, but before I do, let me tell you why I’m happy for America, even if you still have to wait a little longer than I do to get your hands on one.
In case you didn’t know, I live in Hungary. It’s a small country with less than a dozen Saab fighter jets in service acting as our guards in the sky and a GDP per capita figure less than half of the United States’, meaning that when it came to buying a Ford Focus a few years back, not many went for the RS option.
Luckily, those few who did bought Lambo Green examples, which look plain outrageous to this day. Every time one drives by in the city, it just makes me smile thinking how earth can a family hatchback be this cheeky.
Now, the previous front-drive Focus RS did understeer like a pig despite Ford’s best efforts, and it steered itself to the right each time you held the steering wheel looser than advised. And that’s why all-wheel drive competitors like a Mitsubishi Evo X could kick its butt around the track.
As a road car, the RS was superior, but it wasn’t really able to put down its five-cylinder Volvo power.
So, Ford decided to give the new version all-wheel drive (remember when we weren’t sure?) as well as a 2.3-liter turbo four tuned to produce 350 horsepower and equal amounts of torque before the decision was made to go global with it. With the now-ancient Mitsubishi Evo X sadly out of the picture, the RS only has to take care of Subaru STIs in America.
It’s worth mentioning that technically, you could import an old RS to America as well, but it had to come through Mexico, and if something didn’t work out, the Feds would have crashed your car without much hesitation. For safety reasons, obviously.
Here in Europe, the situation is much more civilized. Importing a domestic American car to the EU is an expensive hobby, but once done, the government has no problem with you driving a Hellcat or something equally loud and proud. Because why would they, as long as you paid your taxes?
But Ford made everything easier. Since they have huge plans with their performance lineup, the Focus RS is just one of the 12 fast Fords that will come out until 2020. Meanwhile, the Mustang went global as well, making us very happy on this side of the water indeed.
Europe gets a proper M4-fighting V8 Mustang, you get the hottest hatchback made in Germany. Everybody wins!
Photo credit: Ford
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