It would appear that we are now entering a new era for the hot hatchback. Powerful front wheel drive models have done battle for decades, but continuous pushing of the performance envelope has lead most manufactures to powering all four wheels. Whilst front wheel drive and all wheel drive both have pros and cons, some explored in our recent Focus RS and Type R comparison video, many of you have requested a similar video but this time contrasting two all wheel drive performance hatchbacks. The Volkswagen Golf R has become a real fan favourite as this hot hatch is not only fast, but retains the high build quality of the GTI. Driving impression of the new Ford Focus RS will have to wait a little bit longer, but its adoption of all wheel drive in this third generation shows plenty of promise. 2016 Ford Focus RS vs Volkswagen Golf R.
First let us look at the statistics… The VW Golf R is powered by a 4 cylinder turbocharged 2.0 litre engine that produces 296BHP and a hefty 280lb ft of torque. Power is then sent to all four wheels via a 6 speed manual gearbox or an optional DSG double clutch automatic. 0-62MPH in the manual car takes 5.1 seconds, but go for the DSG and that drops to 4.9 seconds. Both variants will do 155MPH.
As for the 2016 Ford Focus RS, its power is sourced from a 2.3 litre EcoBoost engine with 345BHP and 324lb ft of torque. However, on overboost that rises to 347lb ft for up to 15 seconds. A manual transmission is the only choice and with the aid of all wheel drive can get the new RS from 0-62MPH in just 4.7 seconds and it wont stop until it reaches 165MPH.
Whilst on paper the Ford Focus RS is just quicker than the Golf R, the German car is a bit lighter. The fastest DSG equipped R tips the scales at 1,495KG whilst the RS weighs in at 1,599KG. As you know, weight influences everything from braking performance to overall agility.
In the visual department neither car is the most extravert in its class, but both being global vehicles they must appeal to a broader spectrum of people than cars like the current Type R. Directly comparing the two, the Ford Focus RS is the most flamboyant whereas the Volkswagen Golf R is more aesthetically reserved. That said, the Golf is offered in both three and five door whereas the Focus is five door only.
When it comes to price the Focus RS again just pips the Golf R to the post. Ford’s halo hatchback will cost from £29,995 vs the £30,820 starting price of the Golf R.
There are many factors that might make you choose one of these cars over the other, from build quality to badge prestige, but one thing we can all agree on is that hot hatchback arena is one of the most competitive in the industry right now.