Ford Focus RS

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Ford Focus RS
Ford Focus RS Side View.jpg
ManufacturerFord Europe
Parent companyFord Motor Company
4501 produced
AssemblySaarlouis, Germany
Body style(s)3-door hatchback
LayoutFF layout
PlatformFord C170 platform
Ford C1 platform
Engine(s)2.0 L I4 Zetec-E turbo
2.5 L I5 T5 turbo
Transmission(s)5-speed manual
RelatedFord Focus SVT
Ford Focus ST
ManualsService Manual

The Ford Focus RS (Rallye Sport) was a low-volume high-performance version of the first-generation Focus, available in 21 European countries. A future Focus RS based on the second-generation Focus is confirmed for production.

Focus RS Mark I

Focus RS Mk I

The Focus RS Mk I was produced from 2 October 2002 to 11 November 2003 and was Ford's return to the RS badge after the demise of the tweaked Escorts, particularly the fabled Ford Escort RS Cosworth. Production was limited to about 4500 from the outset, and the car was built on its own assembly line in Ford's Saarlouis plant. The RS was offered all over Europe, but 2147 were sold in the United Kingdom, by far its largest market.[1]


The development of the Focus RS was undertaken by Tickford Engineering / Prodrive Tickford in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. Originally it was to be released as the Racing Focus, however after the poor selling Racing Puma, Ford decided to revive the RS badge. Initially the power output was specified to be 222 bhp, but issues with mechanical durability caused the power to be reduced.


More bespoke than the prior Ford Focus SVT (rebadged the Focus ST170 in Europe), the Focus RS upgraded or replaced 70% of the standard Focus mechanicals. The turbocharged straight-4 engine produced a minimum of 212 horsepower (158 kW) and 310 Nm of torque, which was then mated to a 5-speed Getrag transmission. Mechanically, most notably, the car incorporated a Quaife automatic torque biasing differential to improve traction from the front-wheel drive setup. It was this differential that gave the car its largely undeserved reputation for extreme torque steer. The steering used the same quick-ratio rack as the ST170 while the brakes used fixed-caliper, four-piston Brembo units with 325mm discs at the front and single-piston floating calipers and 280mm discs at the back. Wheels were 18" alloys specially developed by OZ Racing. The engine was heavily modified with forged aluminum pistons, forged connecting rods, hardened valve seats, sodium-filled exhaust valves, and a stainless steel exhaust system. The forced induction system comprised a Garrett turbocharger with a water-cooled charge air cooler and an electric water pump. To transmit the higher torque was an uprated AP clutch.


The Focus RS was available in one metallic colour, Imperial Blue. The body looked similar to the standard Focus or to the ST170, although the RS featured unique front and rear bumper assemblies required for the wider wheel arches which accommodated the 65mm wider front track. Internally, the theme is blue and black with sections of blue leather trim on the door trim panels, the steering wheel and the Sparco seats which were trimmed in blue/black leather and Alcantara. A green starter button starts the engine. The instruments have a blue background and in place of the coolant temperature gauge, the RS was equipped with a boost pressure indicator (up to 1.5 bar). The gear lever knob, handbrake lever, and pedals were all custom made by Sparco.


All-around performance was equal or better than its other competitors, including hatchbacks such as the Honda Civic Type R and four-wheel drive cars in the same price field. Power was a diminished priority and the handling on a track, courtesy of the front differential, was considered by most observers to be the most important characteristic. In a Top Gear review, Jeremy Clarkson noted that "it lacks the straight-forward oomph of a Subaru Impreza. [...] The reason it was so quick round our track is simple: this car handles like it's in a cartoon." Clarkson and other motor journalists also doled out some criticism of the differential for causing torque steer and unruly behaviour on bumpy roads.


  • 0-60 miles per hour (97 km/h): 5.9 s
  • 0-100 kilometres per hour (62 mph): 6.7 s
  • 0-100 miles per hour (160 km/h): 15.5 s
  • 100 miles per hour (160 km/h)-0: 4.1 s (1.0 g in braking)
  • Top speed: 232 kilometres per hour (144 mph)
  • Power-to-weight ratio: 168.88 bhp/ton
  • Turns lock-to-lock: 2.9
  • Standing ¼ mile: 14.8 s @ 98 mph
  • Standing km: 26.2 s @ 201.0 km/h

Focus RS Mark II

Focus RS Mk II on show at the British Motor Show in July 2008.

When Ford completed the production run of the Mk I, Ford of Britain's managing director Paul Thomas said "We always knew Focus RS would be a sales winner, but we could never have predicted its fantastic reception and the effect it had in re-igniting passion for the Ford RS brand."

In December 2007, the plans for a Focus RS Mk II were acknowledged by Ford[3], which stated that the Mk II would appear as a concept at the British International Motor Show in London for 2008, with production in 2009. Spy photos[4] and rumors of purported RS Mk II test mules had already been in circulation for some time. On the July 4, 2008 Ford announced the details of the Ford Focus RS that was to be shown at the British International Motor Show. Contrary to speculation[5], the new Focus RS does not have twin turbochargers or all-wheel drive. The Volvo T5 engine was upgraded to produce 305 PS (301 hp)[6] and 440 N·m (325 lb·ft) of torque. 0 to 100km/h acceleration was quoted to be under 6 seconds. The car remains front wheel drive, but to reduce torque steer uses a Quaife Automatic Torque Biasing LSD, and a specially designed MacPherson strut suspension at the front called RevoKnuckle, which provides a lower scrub radius and kingpin offset than traditional designs while avoiding the increased weight and complexity of double wishbone and multi-link suspension setups.[7]Ford UK claim: "It’s as close as you’ll come to driving a full-spec rally car.[8]


  • 0-100 kilometres per hour (62 mph): 5.9 s
  • 31-62 miles per hour (100 km/h): 5.3 s (in 4th gear)
  • Top speed: 263 kilometres per hour (163 mph)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "NUMBER’S UP FOR FORD FOCUS RS". 2003-11-11. Retrieved on 2008-02-27. 
  2. "2002 Ford Focus RS technical specifications". 2008-04-03. Retrieved on 2008-06-11. 
  3. "FORD CONFIRMS NEW HIGH PERFORMANCE FOCUS RS IS ON THE WAY". 2007-12-17. Retrieved on 2008-02-27. 
  4. "Focus RS]". 2006-11-28. Retrieved on 27 February 2008. 
  5. "It's official: Focus RS on the way". 2007-12-17. Retrieved on 27 February 2008. 
  6. "Engines and gears". Ford of Britain. 2008-12-12. Retrieved on 2009-01-15. 
  7. "Suspension Projects - The RevoKnuckle" (PDF). Retrieved on 2009-01-26. 
  8. "Driving technology - Ford of Britain". Retrieved on 2009-01-26. 
  9. "Focus RS eBrochure". Ford of Britain. 2008-12-18. Retrieved on 2009-01-11. 

External links