The Ford Focus RS has to be one of the most anticipated cars of 2016. A return to all wheel drive for the RS badged machine has hardcore fans excited to get their first taste of this modern icon. However, don’t go thinking that the Focus RS will have things all its own way as competition in the hot hatchback segment is fierce. The arena is full of strong competition of which, in the run up to the Ford Focus RS hitting the road, we have been comparing and contrasting. In this video we have gathered some of the strongest contenders potential customers will decide between, crunched the numbers, and put them side by side. Enter the Honda Civic Type R, Subaru WRX STI, Volkswagen Golf R, Audi RS3, and the Mercedes-AMG A45.
Let’s kick off with 0-62 MPH times. Obviously without the advantage of all wheel drive, the Civic Type R doesn’t launch quite as quickly as the others with a time of 5.7 seconds. Its lack of weight without all wheel drive helps it in other areas, but we will come to that in due course. The rally-bred Subaru WRX STI clocks in at 5.2 seconds to 62 MPH whilst the VW Golf R does it in 4.9 when equipped with a DSG gearbox. It is 4.7 seconds for the Audi RS3 whilst, maybe unsurprisingly, the most powerful hot hatchback on sale today, this Mercedes-AMG A45 takes just 4.2 seconds.
What about top speed? Here the RS3 takes victory at 174 MPH followed by the Mercedes-AMG’s 169 MPH top end. Next is the Honda Civic Type R clocking 167 MPH, then the RS with 165 MPH, Subaru WRX STI 159 MPH, bringing up the rear is the Golf R’s 155 MPH.
Those figures have a lot to do with overall power output. Now, this can vary dependent upon region so for the sake of comparison we are going use the official European figures. As you can see from this less than sophisticated table, the most powerful is the A45 AMG pumping out 376 BHP and 350 lb ft of torque. The Ford Focus RS sits pretty much in the middle of these.
Obviously these are all just numbers on paper and other factors such as how the chassis handles this performance will determine which is the fastest in the real world. This is where the Type R is likely to gain an advantage, particularly on a technical track on a dry day, due to it not having to carry the weight of an all wheel drive system. The Japanese hatch has already proven itself to be faster than the Audi RS3 and even a BMW M3 in a test conducted by Auto Express. We can’t wait until all of these mean machine gather for a showdown.
Each of these cars has an ace to play in this high stakes poker game. The Audi RS3 has the best quality interior, the Mercedes-AMG A45 has the power bragging rights, Volkswagen Golf R has the power of the understatement, Civic Type R is simply one of the best handling of the bunch, the Subaru WRX STI has that off road appeal. As for the Ford Focus RS? At £29,995 it is excellent value in terms of the performance you are getting. It is actually the joint second cheapest of this selection. In addition it has that much talked about drift mode that was developed with the help of Ken Block.
If you’re a fan of hot hatchbacks that put some serious sports cars to shame then the class of 2016 will no doubt please you. The Ford Focus RS stacks up well against its chief rivals, but can it take the crown? It won’t be long until the world finds out.