Here in the UK we love the hot hatchback. Based upon much more sensible counterparts, these pocket rockets possess performance that can put a lot of well-sorted sports cars to shame. The “Fast Ford” has long been a staple of the British diet and promotes performance motoring for the everyman. RS is a legendary badge when teamed with a Ford and its history is nothing short of illustrious. Factor the Focus nameplate into the equation and now you are talking about an icon spanning three generations. With the unveiling of the all-new Ford Focus RS earlier this week, we thought we should take a look back to where it all began.
The 2002 Ford Focus RS was a fantastically over engineered machine. In fact Ford replaced 70% of this Focus’ standard parts to create something rather special. With technology and materials not far removed from its WRC brother, Ford made a loss on every car sold in the 4,500 car limited production run. To highlight just how much the British adore the hot hatch, of the 4,500 cars sold in Europe 2,147 went to the UK.
Available only in Imperial Blue, the 2002 Ford Focus RS posses a turbocharged four cylinder engine producing 212BHP and 310Nm of torque. 0-62MPH was completed in just 6.3 seconds and considering all of this performance was getting to the ground via the front wheels alone, that is mighty impressive. 0.98G of lateral acceleration was possible as well as 1G under braking thanks to its Brembo parts. A unique torque biasing differential attempted to keep torque steer at bay, however, at times the MK1 Focus RS could be a handful on broken surfaces.
Sparco racing seats, WRC inspired bodywork and a loving spoonful of performance. Today a 2002 Ford Focus RS is hard to find at a reasonable price as it is the forefather to a highly successful range for modern-day fast Fords.
You can find out more about the latest third generation Ford Focus RS HERE.