By on October 7, 2016

2016 Ford Focus RS Long-Term Test, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Surprise! It’s a Ford hatchback!

As many of you correctly guessed yesterday, the new long-term tester (and this one’s gonna be loooooooong) is a 2016 Focus RS in Nitrous Blue. And, man, is this thing glorious.

The decision to get a FoRS was surprisingly difficult. As we discussed yesterday, I had a long list of requirements for my Fiesta ST replacement. It needed to be family friendly, track capable, and eminently streetable. The Fiesta ST was one of those things. I needed its successor to be all of them.

And to be completely honest with you, I wasn’t in love with the Focus RS when I drove it.

If you’ve had the latest issue of Road & Track delivered to your front door, you’ll notice that my name is in the Focus RS review as the autocross ringer. (I ended up being dirty on my fastest runs and losing to big bro.) That car was a complete handful on that day — the tires and brakes were essentially entirely used up at the track the day before. In fact, here’s what I put on Instagram after doing five runs in the FoRS:

Bark M. Focus RS Instagram

barkm302st Today’s office. Here’s a sneak preview: I don’t want to buy one anymore. #ford #fordperformance #focusrs #fors #fordfocusrs

I had been incredibly dissatisfied by the Focus RS’s lack of stopping and turning ability. My last three runs were essentially useless exercises, punctuated by center-punching cones with the Ford logo. The combination of track time and autocross runs (Danger Girl had done five runs before either Jack or I drove, so there were 15 total runs on the brakes and tires that day) were just too much for the Michelins and Brembos to handle. In a national autocross situation, we would’ve had no issues running on Bridgestone RE-71Rs and Hawk Blues. I’m not used to autocrossing cars prepped to less than the limit of the rules, and my frustration was palpable.

Of course, all of that was before Jack and I took the FoRS into Nashville for dinner at (where else) Ruth’s Chris. Given the opportunity to cool down in the parking lot of the hotel for a bit, the FoRS became incredibly rewarding to drive on the street.

The Recaros, no longer the torture devices from the FoST but rather leather-trimmed versions of the buckets found in the Boss 302, were supportive and comfortable for long drives. The 10-speaker Sony audio system provided suitable backing tracks for Jack and me to rap all the lyrics from N.W.A.’s masterwork, Efil4zaggin, much to the chagrin/amusement of our dining companions.

So this was all good stuff — but it wasn’t enough to convince me the Focus RS was the car for me.

Volkswagen Golf R, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

No, the clincher was when I had the opportunity to hoon around in the Focus’ main competitor: the Golf R. When I went to review the Golf Alltrack for a friendly competing blog last month, the second day of the event was a full-line drive. I wasn’t interested in driving anything other than the GTI and the Golf R, and the nice people at VW were happy to oblige.

The Golf R is fast, no doubt. It’s so fast that I brought both the DSG and the manual cars back from my 30-minute drives with smoking brakes and a whiff of depleted ozone. But it’s boring. It looks like the same Volkswagen Golf that sorority girls beg for as graduation gifts. It’s sensible for street driving, yes — but it’s too sensible for my tastes. The color choices make it seem like the Golf R is doing more to hide its performance orientation than display it.

Driving the R made me realize checking off all the boxes, which the Golf clearly does, isn’t enough for me. Any car that I’m going to spend that much money on needs not only to inspire intellectually but emotionally. It needs to make me turn around and look at it every time I get out of the car. It needs to stand out.

The Focus RS doesn’t just stand out — it thumbs its rather large nose at the world. I considered Space Gray, but there’s really only one color to get on the RS. Nitrous Blue would cost $5,000 or more on any Porsche or Audi. It takes a relatively benign looking hatchback and causes every head to turn. It’s impossible to overstate its brilliance. I must assume Ford is losing money on each one it sells in that color.

2016 Ford Focus RS Grille Badge, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

But it’s not only the color that excites. FoRS is more like an actual race car than any other south of $60,000. The popping, burbling exhaust is more authentic than anything you’ll find on a Subaru. And while the Golf R does its best to look like a regular old Golf — boy, does Ford want you to know this is an RS. My son and I counted at least 15 places where Ford placed its special letters, everywhere from the wheels to the spoiler to the airbox.

Screen Shot 2016-10-07 at 11.44.23 AM

All that paint and speed and RS logo stuff? It’s not cheap. Here’s my car’s sticker — a stomach-turning $43,140 including destination. I refused to pay one dime more than sticker for an RS, and dealers across the country are still bold enough to ask for $5,000-10,000 in additional dealer markup (ADM). Luckily, I was able to find a dealer nearby that was getting ready to order its allocation of 2017 RSes, and it still had a Nitrous Blue 2016 on the showroom floor. Two phone calls later, and I was on my way to the dealer to pick it up.

Leasing the Focus RS isn’t an option — not a reasonable one, anyway. Ford Credit doesn’t offer a lease on the RS. I would have paid more per month to lease it through a third-party bank than I would have to buy it over 60 months — and that’s assuming I was willing to put down $2,500 to lease it versus zero down on a buy. So, despite my preference to lease, I decided to buy it.

My assumption, however, based on the insane ADM many people paid for the right to have an RS, is depreciation should be fairly low. If I decide I want to sell it in 24 months, I don’t think I’ll have a problem doing so.

But why would I want to? When I go back to my consideration set — under $50,000, fast on the track, comfortable on the street, increased creature comforts — there isn’t much else that fits the bill. Many of you mentioned the Chevrolet SS, and that’s a valid option, too. That being said, I owned a Pontiac G8 GT for three years, and I don’t miss it. I’ve loved the Fiesta for the last 18 months. As I thought about what I would replace it with, I realized what I really wanted was another Fiesta ST, just bigger and faster.

The FoRS isn’t that. It’s not as playful as the Fiesta. It doesn’t kick its tail out with ease like the Fiesta. It’s more blunt instrument than scalpel. The FiST was named Zippy by the kiddos, but something that light and whimsical doesn’t match the brute force of the Focus.

Force, you say? FoRS, maybe? Ah, yes. That makes it simple. My friends, allow me to introduce you to the newest member of my family: Obi-Wan. I think Obi-Wan’s light saber was pretty much Nitrous Blue, don’t you?

"Use the FoRS, Bark Jr." Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

May the FoRS be with us — always, or at least for 60 months. Stick around for the journey, and we’ll learn more about this beast together.

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156 Comments on “2016 Ford Focus RS Long-Term Test – May the FoRS Be With You, Always...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    How is this really different than the other one you had?

  • avatar
    tinbad

    A 50k focus, glad you like it but I just can’t wrap my head around spending S3/M/AMG money on a Ford…

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a $43k Focus. That’s not $50k. There’s a significant delta there.

      • 0 avatar

        My mom’s Nascar Illustrated subscription went out of biznass, and they gifted her 4:1 ratio of remaining issues to Car and Driver (seeing if I can get it switched to R&T), so I read the performance car shootout. Guess what? The RS beat a goddamn Ecoboost ‘Stang time around VIR, so if it costs more (or less) than the blown-boosted-unit everyone has to make that call on whether it’s worth it or not for themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        tinbad

        It’s not unheard of to get 10% off an S3. I purchased a leftover ’16 S6 for close to 15% off after all the rebates. Don’t get me wrong, you made a great choice, like you said there aren’t many better performing cars under 50k. I myself was just surprised how much more affordable luxury brands can be than MSRP would suggest. It makes sense, if you’re shopping for a Ford and this is the most exciting thing on their lot so they can get away with adding 5k in ADM… ugh!

    • 0 avatar
      Shawnski

      $50k for an M or AMG? That would be nice. The sticker price is $43k, that is a nicely equipped BMW 228 money.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Wait?! Bark M. paid MSRP?

      Nice to see the Brother’s driving Fords and not Honda’s. We’ll see if JB can find someone to support his Honda-resale value and if your FoRS does even better.

      Where is the RS assembled?

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      GT350 must be utterly baffling then since the convenience package can put you over 60k (not much over mind you but its almost 61k with the stripes and convenience package.

      Its almost a shame Ford made the track pack standard in 2017 as the 2016 base GT350 was a hair under 50k but stealerships pretty much killed any chance of getting a base GT350 for anybody looking for a substantial step up over the GT.

    • 0 avatar
      tylanner

      I think the S3 would have righted all the Golf R wrongs if he’d given it a chance.

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      @tinbad and tylanner – I can’t speak for Bark but were it my $, I’d gladly pay more for this than the S3. The S3 has nothing going for it over this, or the Golf R for that matter, other than the badge. it’s far less practical being only a sedan (kids come with lots of stuff), and it is automatic only. it’s also slower than the RS. The S3 is one of the most pointless cars on the market today. If I had to have a premium badge and I couldn’t bring myself to pony up for a 340i, an ATS 2.0t has a proper gearbox, and a fantastic RWD chassis instead of a nose heavy uber Golf Chassis AND is available for under $40k MSRP with a stick (thousands less than the Audi). The Audi’s only advantage is about 40 hp.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        tjh8402,

        Spot on. I don’t get the whole badge thing. You paid THAT for X brand? Um, I didn’t buy it because I just HAD to tell the girls I bought X to impress them. Or the guys. Or whoever. I am after the car I want, badge be damned. I don’t care if it says Datsun or Ford or Ferrari on it. I damn sure won’t pay more just for the name unless it’s something very special like a Morgan or something. A tarted up automatic Golf-based sedan does not qualify.

        If the car I want and can afford happens to be an up market German brand, so be it, but the car is the point, not only the emblem dangling from your keychain.

        I’m like you, though. My choices in the $40k+ range are cars like Mustang GT350, Corvette, ATS manual, or maybe a 400 hp MKZ or Continental lol. I’d also look hard at an Alfa-Romeo Giulia Quadrafolio (so?), the only Euro brand on my list, but don’t worry, most badge snobs hate it (not to mention I don’t think its on sale in the US, but I believe it is in production and currently sold elsewhere).

        • 0 avatar
          tinbad

          The badge is not the point. Have you sat in anything Ford lately? Yes, even though it’s a 43k focus, the interior plastics and touches are still from a 16k one. Since I spend 95% inside I value the interior finishes just as much as performance or handling. An S3 may be close to 50k but in its base is a 35k car with according fit and finish, the Golf R perhaps even better in that regard.. you sir have obviously never owned or driven anything ‘premium’ and that is cool. Just don’t go around the internet calling people badge snobs because you obviously haven’t driven a proper car (yet).

          • 0 avatar
            Chan

            If you want the performance of a $43k Focus RS and the interior of a $43k BMW 3 series, you’re looking at a $55k Focus.

            Money can only be used once.

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            The Focus isn’t awful. It’s probably one of the nicer mainstream cars out there. And besides, the only thing my hands touch are the steering wheel, shifter, and maybe arm rests and those are fine. I don’t ever touch the dashboard. I went from a BMW to a Fiat 500 and you know what I pretty much never notice? the interior materials.

  • avatar
    StarAZ

    Since it is impossible to find a FoRS to test drive, how different does this one feel from the FoST?

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    That does seem a lot for a Focus to me. I could buy a 340hp Jaguar XE for that money. I do like Fords, but not that much! If you wanted extroverted, this certainly fits the bill, nobody could accuse it of being subtle.

    • 0 avatar

      340hp XE, what’s the curb weight on that bad boy again?

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      I don’t remember all the criteria Bark mentioned before, but I don’t think the Jag would satisfy the auto-x capable one, and arguably not the track day one either. Jag has a great car with the XE V-6, but it’s hobbled by its limited available configurations. I can’t speak for Bark, but were I shopping there’s no way I’d consider one over the Focus. The Jag’s slushbox is a deal killer for me, whereas the Focus has a proper manual. Also, the Focus has way more space. yes, the Jag has that nice RWD chassis and V6, but the Focus is just as fast if not faster, has a manual, is more sporty/racy, and is more practical.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Bark, is this your daily driver? If so, how’s the ride quality on kid drop off and grocery duty?

  • avatar
    TTCat

    I should like this car, but I just don’t.

    The same holds true for the Golf R as well.

    Despite being AWD with a stick and plenty of get-up-and-go, their hot-hatch styling and 5-door configurations just leave me cold – the price tags don’t thrill me either…

    • 0 avatar
      manny_c44

      Agreed. The interior shot with his son at the wheel just had me shaking my head…I mean, look at the dash; look at the dash and pretend you just laid down 45k for the car.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I wouldn’t be able to get past that. Bark’s got a showy streak. I don’t, and I’d prefer the hey-I’m-just-a-1.8T-Golf-really! approach of the Golf R.

        • 0 avatar
          TTCat

          It’s nice he at least found a car he likes enough to buy – given the direction of the industry nowadays, I never will again…

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            It’s a lot easier to find a car nowadays if you’re 5’9″ than it is for average height and above.

            From Bark’s perspective it still looks vaguely automotive and not a scrubbing bubble.

          • 0 avatar
            thattruthguy

            Average American adult height is about 5′ 7″.

            Hint: 95th-percentile women are under 5′ 9″.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “Average American adult height is about 5′ 7″.”

            For fifth-ish generation Euro stock?

            There’s an awful lot of diversity dragging down your figure.

          • 0 avatar
            thattruthguy

            By diversity, you literally mean everyone but white men. :)

            White adult males average a skosh over 5′ 9″. Every other ethnicity/gender group is less; every other group but AA males is significantly less.

            What doubly sucks for tall men is that Gyno-Americans have much shorter hip-to-eye dimensions, even than men of the same overall height, so women prefer their car seats much, much higher relative to the base of the windshield. Median inseams are much closer, so women and men are more compatible from the seat to the pedals.

            Who knew that the glass ceiling white guys would bump into actually would be a sunroof?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Funny comment, TTG, and I would add that another ethnic filter operating here is the purchase of a frivolously expensive new car by someone not a pro athlete or entertainer but entertaining nonetheless.

            I only go dyno for gyno and it’s always been their dimensions other than hip-eye that have concerned me.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Thattruthguy

            If it’s any consolation I believe it’s worse for tall women than men. That shorter eye to hip ratio means some seriously long legs needs to be accommodated. My wife is a tick under 6’2″ and it’s hilarious watching her try to fit in some cars. Knee on steering wheel stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        SD 328I

        My poverty spec 2015 F150 XLT with cloth bench seats has a MSRP of $41,000. Doesn’t even have a light on the vanity mirror.

        A not fully loaded Honda Accords V6 are in the $30,000 range already.

        You want sticker shock, just shop at any dealership these days.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      You sound just like me. Hot hatches are lame.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      Sounds like a FoST is what you’re looking for. 80% of the fun, 50% of the price.

      Marginal utility is expensive.

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    And here I had sold myself on you getting a Lexus IS200t fsport. Focus has such little rear seat space that I have trouble seeing it work for family duty. It must be just good enough to be acceptable based upon wanting all that HP and track ability.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I guess the car is a steal in Canada at only $48,000 CDN

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    “…versus zero down on a buy.” Bark, considering your previous articles on what does and doesn’t make sense financially when buying a car, what made you decide putting zero down on the RS is a good idea? Unless depreciation is mega-low you’ll likely be upside-down on that loan for a while. Considering the crap interest rate on guaranteed investments these days, it seems like reducing interest paid makes more sense than financing it all and putting your dollars elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      Depreciation should be low. This is a special car in a special color. People are going to want it one, two, even ten years from now. If he wants to get rid of it in two years, he can call me and I’ll pay off his loan and take delivery.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I read somewhere depreciation is actually higher on the rare trim models.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          Special edition Mustangs/F150s have done well. Bark is in a good spot because he didn’t pay ADM and got one in Nitrous Blue. Someone would probably pay him MSRP right now because they have been waiting, can’t get one they want, or don’t want to pay ADM.

    • 0 avatar

      This thing won’t depreciate much, if at all, in the first year. Nitrous Blue, in particular, is incredibly difficult to buy at sticker, and I’m hearing a rumor that it might not be available for 2017 at all.

  • avatar
    Plamry

    Awesome car. I had one on order through my local dealer then the waiting game happened (ford would not commit to an allocation )and my wife gave me the green light on purchasing a challenger. I love the challenger but I’m still a hot hatch guy (last car was a Golf R). Part of me still want the RS in that electric blue!

  • avatar
    everybodyhatesscott

    Love the car but at $7-800 a month I think I’m officially too cheap to be a car guy that buys the cars he likes

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Many happy miles Bark. It’s a beautiful thing. Little Bark seems to approve too. Are you going to get the hawk blue pads and put RE-71R’s on a 2nd set of rims?

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Not my cup of tea, be to each their own, enjoy it but I would tire real quick of standing out on every block w that color and I like blue for a car color. I do not get why you hated it at the track and then loved it on the road, are you saying you will give up some track mojo because the rest of the package is worth it?

    • 0 avatar

      I hated it at the autocross because it was essentially worn out by the time I got it. The tires and brakes were both toasty. I think the car needs better brake pads and fluid for the type of heat it can generate. If I were tracking/autoxing my own car, both would be upgraded, regardless of the car.

      On the street, it didn’t matter.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        In the rs’ defense there is no competitor that doesn’t also need a fluid, pad and rotor upgrade for track work. I wonder if there are any monoblock aluminum calipers available? Although maybe the factory Brembos are already light enough that this would be wasted money. On the golf line cars that and aluminum control arms do make a detectable difference, about as much as light rims do.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Every time I hear about this car I get insanely jealous of Ford, because for reasons that predate my employment, FCA chose not to pursue a Dart SRT.

    I can’t argue with the logic. The SRT brand is making money hand over fist with the Charger, Challenger, and Jeep, and history has shown that the Dart turned out to be a sales dud. None the less, I pine for a spiritual successor to the SRT-4.

    I want photos of my son in an awesome car that actually belongs to me, because I can actually afford it…not just because I took one home for the weekend.

    OK, piss cry moan, back to work.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The statement Bark made alluding that the G8 is similar to the SS, justifing his RS stance is akin to me stating I have driven my mothers Michigan made Focus declaring the SS must be better than the RS.

    The RS appears to be a good vehicle. Don’t get me wrong. I have friven a Monaro and HSV Commodores.

    • 0 avatar

      Except that it isn’t. I’ve driven both. I wrote a review of the SS for this very site. I found them similar enough that I had no desire to own one.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Bark,
        Here is some important information.
        1. The SS leaves the Holden factory as a shell. It is then transported to HSV and fitted out, including all the good shit.

        2. The Monaro is a generation behind the SS.

        As I’m now stating. You are attempting to compare a M Series or AMG against its base platform. Your ho-hum 90s family tech G8 is no 21st Century purpose built sports sedan.

        Its even a chalk and cheese comparison using an outdated Monaro vs a 2016 family 4 door Commodore. Don’t think a 2 door has to be better than a 4 door. I don’t know how else you could of made that statement ……… or there could be a little bit of Ford bias.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Bark,
        The G8 was built alongside family hacks and is generation behind the SS. The SS is just a shell when it arrives at HSV and is fitted out with lots of perfomance goodies.

        You are attempting to make a comparison equivalent to a M Series/AMG to their donor model that’s a generation behind as well.

        Do I detect some Ford bias. Oh, your article is well written and interesting.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          For f*ck’s sake, Al, he likes the Focus.

          If he’d wanted an SS, he’d have bought a SS. If GM built something equivalent to the Focus RS, he’d have tried it out, no doubt.

          Good lord, man.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Freedmike,
            I do realise this. As I pointed out a G8 or even a GTO are two different animals compared to a 2015 HSV. I have driven both or exceptionally similar vehicles in the past few months. End to end as well.

            Remember, according to Bark he bought the
            GTO thinking it was good. So, how good is his judgement regarding the RS?

            Bark can try and intimidate and “yell”. He must remember he’s an automtive journo. Not a novelist. His tirade indicates he doesn’t like to be questioned regarding how and why he reaches certain conclusions. He must become more objective, technical.

            As I stated earlier, the RS is a good vehicle.

            Thanks for your feedback.

          • 0 avatar

            Good God. I owned a G8 GT, not a GTO. Those are two different vehicles. You’re just…you’re just a different kind of cat. Good luck with that.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “His tirade indicates he doesn’t like to be questioned regarding how and why he reaches certain conclusions.”

            And who said this exactly?

            “He must become more objective, technical.”

            Objectively and technically, the one who posted this is a butt-head.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            Quit your attempts as a populist. Or your attempts at what you perceive as empowering yourself by your constant belittlement.

            As I stated a G8 or GTO are a chalk and cheese comparison to a Chev SS.

            This can be proven on paper using data collected as well as my objective assessment.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            For a guy from Oz who claims to know everything about Holdens, he’s getting a lot of details wrong.

            The SS is a “generation” ahead of the G8 — but the biggest thing about that generation is a new interior. Mechanicals are very similar with the exception of EPS. (Later SSes also got magnetic shocks.) The unibody is basically the same. Engine, transmission, suspension, dimensions, and general character didn’t change much from G8 GXP to SS.

            If you had a G8 and didn’t love it for reasons other than the chintzy interior, there’s no reason to think a SS would change your view. (I disliked the G8 precisely because of its chintzy interior and would love to have a SS. But I don’t drive on track.)

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @BAFO – “Quit your attempts as a populist.”

            Populist:

            1.a member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people.

            “Empowering yourself”

            The term empowerment refers to measures designed to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities in order to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority.

            Aw shucks.

            You saying that I’m just another SJW?

            Perhaps, since you are going blind, someone could read that dictionary/thesaurus to you!

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            ” You’re just…you’re just a different kind of cat. Good luck with that.”

            what with him and RobertRyan, I’m starting to suspect Australia sources its drinking water from Flint.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            JimZ – LOL

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Dal,
            There are significant differences between a Holden and a HSV. Its chalk an d cheese.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @JimZ
            Seeing most of your posts are pretty clueless despite being an ” engineer” I do not know if that was a compliment or not

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        You drove a 2014 automatic. I’d be curious to know whether you feel the same way about a 2016/17 manual. It adds the manual (duh), Magnetic Ride Control, revised steering, better brakes both front and rear, and a few styling changes that make it a bit more showy. The manual also gives you a lower final drive for even more go, not that you complained about the go the first time.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      A SS can be had for $10-12,000 off MSRP or about $38K. That’s is even better than GMS and probably employee discounts.

      • 0 avatar
        turbo_awd

        Hi Norm. Where can I see those discounts available on an SS?

      • 0 avatar
        kosmo

        If it’s a stick, and silver in color, I’ll buy it TOMORROW for 12k off sticker.

        Please provide link!

        • 0 avatar
          turbo_awd

          I wonder if he’s talking about the 3-day sale that happened in July and was over long ago as if it’s still on? Plus, not sure if the “stop sale” has been lifted yet – they had some seatbelt issue.

          Current GM ads show like 20% off a Camaro (‘dat visibility, tho), 10% off a ‘vette, etc.. No SS mentioned.

          Hey, anyone got 20% off a Charger SRT?? :-)

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Big al

      C’mon man. There is a massive character difference between a large rwd sedan and a hot hatch in the mid 3000 lb range. Performance stats are one thing, feel on road another. Now if you had recommended a similar weight and length rwd car it would be a much more interesting argument, but bark clearly addressed that in his article with the 2 series contender.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    congrats! When I came up with my price no object daily driver dream car list, this was at the top of the list. In a perfect world cars with more than 4 cylinders were available with a stick, a liftback, and rear or awd, it might be number two. unfortunately, with compromise being necessary, this one seems like the most fun option out there (my other top choices being a Golf R, Chevy SS, ATS-V, and somewhat reluctantly, a 340i).

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “And while the Golf R does its best to look like a regular old Golf — boy, does Ford want you to know this is an RS.”

    See, this is where we’d differ, Bark – I LOVE the idea of a stealth warrior – but either of these cars would sure as hell be welcome in my parking slot.

    What was the deal like on the Golf R in comparison? Or did you even get that far?

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Very sharp. Like that blue.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m glad you didn’t buy a VW.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    and you’ll be among the rare few to have a Focus with a “W” VIN in this country.

  • avatar
    badhobz

    I think you paid too much for a focus. Wouldnt modding the Fiesta make more since than buying this focus? Im sure you can do more than 350hp if you dumped an extra 20k into a fiesta.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The Fiesta was leased, as I recall.

      Ford Credit would have probably frowned on your strategy, unfortunately. But given equal price tags, I’d definitely prefer a Focus over a Fiesta…the former is a far better family car, and it has AWD as well.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      If it were just a HP and apearance package you’d be right. For the driveline this monster actually delivers it’s a bargain. If he ever tries to go fast in rain or worse, the other things that do what this should are WAY more $. Shame its too pretty to rally cross…

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I wanted to like the focus except the seats are tiny. Judging by your son, the rs seats are even worse than the base model. Why cant ford make adult sized seats? Sitting on short cushions and the side bolsters instead of between the bolsters doesnt do it for me.

  • avatar
    Robert MdO

    Why are so many people Focused (bad pun intendend) on the car beign a Focus? The price obviously is a reflection of the performance and scarcity (for now) of this particular version of the car, not of the badge on the “hood”, as JimZ mentioned it is even made en Germany!

    As I recall a lot o the B&B have derided the people buying CLA’s because they all think those customesr only care about the thee-pointed star being ostentatiously displayed at the front.

    I would personally prefer to own a FoRS (especially in this color) than a CLA45 or an M2, even if they were the same price, I like the “ugly” looks, the stare-at-me color and of course the performance, not so fond of the interior though, but with this kind of capabilities who cares.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      “Why are so many people Focused (bad pun intendend) on the car being a Focus?”

      I’m guessing that is because it’s roughly triple the price of a base Focus, yet still a Focus. Yes, I get that it’s not the same as a basic econobox Focus, but a budget of that size opens up a lot of possibilities of other desirable cars that have less humble roots.

      I totally see why Bark bought it, even if it isn’t my cup of tea.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      It’s the same group of people that find button blanks to be a perceived slight to their character, socioeconomic status, and possibly virility, whether or not they care about the missing features.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      The Focus was just the figurative platform on which this performance car was built. Considering it has no competition in the US, Ford and Ford dealers can charge whatever they want if they think people will bite.

      It’s funny how the supposed “car enthusiasts” decry luxury brands for overpriced crap, then the same people would note that “I could buy a well-equipped 3 series instead of that Focus.”

      • 0 avatar
        turbo_awd

        >>Considering it has no competition in the US
        –> the WRX/STi, Golf R, possibly S3 and Civic Si-R (in a year or two) wave hello

        >>It’s funny how the supposed “car enthusiasts” decry luxury brands for overpriced crap, then the same people would note that “I could buy a well-equipped 3 series instead of that Focus.”

        Yeah, well, the point is: we’re already paying double the cost of a normal Focus (especially with dealer gouging) – would it be too much to ask for $500-1000 in interior upgrades to make us feel “more special”?

  • avatar
    Mojo_Mike

    Congratulations on your new ride Bark. Now get with Adam Brunson at TUNE+ and make some more power. He’s done a remarkable job with my EcoStang.

  • avatar
    SirRaoulDuke

    Nice choice. I can’t see much on that sticker…did it come with the extra winter wheel and tire package, and if not do you plan on getting a winter setup and enjoying the bit of snow your part of the Bluegrass gets? I would drift the sh*t out of this in the snow.

  • avatar

    Congratulations, Bark. A fast car and a guy who knows how to use it is always a good combination.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I remember seeing a new focus for sale for $13,000 CDN – hard to imagine paying over 3.5 times that amount for a fancy version.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      only if you do the typical B&B thing of looking at the RS as “just a Focus.”

      it’s like you people are a bunch of robots or Vulcans or something. zero emotion, just buy whatever car did best in some magazine comparison test.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I don’t get the “just a Focus” argument.

        Was the GNX, R32, Evo, STI, and Civic-R “just” a Regal, Golf, Lancer, Impreza, or Civic?

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        >>only if you do the typical B&B thing of looking at the RS as “just a Focus.”<<

        Indeed, the RS packs a lot of specialized hardware compared to the plebian Focus.

        It probably only shares the shell, doors, and interior trim with the regular car along with a few other items but as far as the drivetrain and I suspect most of the suspension (brakes and wheels/tires are obvious) is different as well making the Fescue RS practically a different car.

        Ford's specialty cars (RS and Shelby) aren't just badge engineered "sports cars" (I say "sports cars" because it seems these days anything with aluminum wheels and a set of stripes qualifies) so looking at one and seeing just a tarted up Focus or Mustang really doesn’t do them justice.

      • 0 avatar
        Chan

        Do we like hot hatches or do we not?

        Sometimes the B&B (and by extension the enthusiast community) make me feel like they all claim to want a brown hot hatch with a manual transmission, but then they go and buy CUVs with automatics.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Well people buy “fancy” Hondayotas all the time and no one bats an eye at that. Whats wrong with a souped up Focus?

  • avatar
    gsf12man

    The “you should have bought what I retroactively think you should have bought” comments are about as expected. Oh, well. We’re about 5,000 miles into a 2016 base ST (it’s ace). What a car that RS is. If my budget allowed it, I’d get one—or a lightly-used School Bus Yellow Boss 302 (sigh).

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I got the same thing elsewhere when I bought a Mustang GT. “You could have had a CPO 3-series for that price!”

      and I was like “so what? I *like* the Mustang better.” they’d invariably part with a huffy “well, not my problem you’d settle for something inferior.”

      Nevermind the fact I never asked for their f**king opinion in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        I guess they are projecting? My GM and AGM at work were pretty impressed with my first go around with an S550 (met guard GT/PP) and really liked it (the former a dyed in the wool Jag guy and the latter a Benz man). The AGM could never figure out my attraction to my 09 GT500 and considered it money very poorly spent (46k new) but he didn’t see any problem with the GT (44k) and even considered my new Shelby decently priced.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Mustang GT vs. 3-series doesn’t even make sense. GT vs. M235i, sure – the M235i is very much a European take on a pony car.

        I find it weird to compare completely different cars just because they happen to cost the same. You can pay $45K for a minivan, a pickup, a sportscar or a loaded ordinary sedan or a stripper premium sedan – doesn’t make them interchangeable.

        Similarly, comparing the Focus RS to a Golf R or a WRX STI makes perfect sense – but to a Chevy SS?? Or even a 2-series? Uh, no, not even remotely the same sort of thing.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    I can feel the sticker shock from here….

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Sweeeeeeeeet

  • avatar
    Chris from Cali

    Mark – Good luck and congratulations on the RS! It’s a fantastic automobile, and I’m certain you’re going to enjoy the hell out of it. I couldn’t see from the resolution, but did you get the forged wheel/PSCup option?

    I bought a Golf R precisely because every dealer is charging $5-10K ADM (more like ATM?). I really love this car. It feels like a mini Carrera 4S (996-era) – very quick, very stable, everyday practical.

    I ran into the same issue with the GT350. Went in to put down a deposit, even bought a Mustang GT to move myself up the “list”. No luck. Everything is geared toward those folks that don’t blink at paying upwards of $15K over sticker. Bummer.

  • avatar
    TheDrBrian

    Interesting you say it’s more authentic than a Subaru yet it dumps fuel into the exhaust on the overrun like a VAG car

  • avatar
    kosmo

    I looked at the ST and RS last week. Both cool. Not being a track/autocross guy, the ST would probably be adequate for my desires.

    But……the rear seat folds flat in a manner that means I can’t move the front seat back enough for my 6’2″ frame, and a flat rear floor is a non-negotiable deal for me.

    Have fun with the new toy, Bark. You’re going to have to find somebody that doesn’t know you or read you if you want to get any reasonable resale, because I predict you will use that thing up!

  • avatar
    Plamry

    If anyone is interested my local dealer should be getting a base RS in blue, no other options in the next month that I ordered and bailed on. They were not charging a mark up. It’s south central Wisconsin.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Nice wheels Bark. My no1 pick too. Though I’d need a stick refresher course. Havent driven one since 79… Or I could laze with an ST value proposition in yellow.

    I found with Recaro side bolster I can navigate my butt in. But getting outs more painfull.

    Golf R’s real nice too. Have fun much else you drive gonna seem a downer after RS.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Best 40K you will ever spend.
    Enjoy.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    Going beyond the minutia being espoused around Bark’s purchase of the FoRS, we had two of them attend our annual Texas Region SCCA Texas Motor Speedway autocross on the 1.1 mile infield road course. Both cars were identical, that medium to dark gray color that actually looks pretty good in person. Those cars in stock trim are classed in B Steet, which means their competition is pretty strong, including some iterations of Corvettes, S2000s, certain BMWs, and others. I did not recognize the names of either driver, but they were not novices as no novices are allowed to run this “faster than normal” autocross event. Sadly, out of 150 entries, only five of those were B Street cars which is a bit unusual in our area. But, the bottom line is they were not impressive with these particular drivers behind the wheel. In fact, I outran them in my Mini Cooper which is also in stock trim and runs D Street. I’m not dissing the cars per se, as I believe a good driver could have fared much better than these two, which ended up in 4th and 5th respective. Personally, even at my advanced age approaching 74 years old, I would buy one in a heartbeat…assuming the bank account would allow it and I could get a sizable discount. Not likely of course, but here are the results from this particular class in yesterday’s road course event.

    BS – ‘B Street’ – Total Entries: 5 Trophies: 2 Run 1 Run 2 Run 3 Run 4 Run 5 Total Diff.
    1T BS 51 Robbins, Chris 2007 Mazda MX5 MSR 55.402 52.275 50.534 50.063 50.094+1 50.063 [-]0.836
    2T BS 6 Ma, Ian 2004 Honda S2000 54.439 51.718+3 50.899 50.460+1 49.932+1 50.899 +0.836
    3 BS 151 Cobb, Michael 2007 Mazda MX5 MSR 51.567+1 51.412+DNF 51.383+1 51.541+DNF 53.383 +2.484
    4 BS 3 Bishop, J Phil 2016 Ford Focus RS 59.633 55.196+1 56.257 54.659+1 53.703 53.703 +0.320
    5 BS 8 Elam, Kelson 2003 Audi RS6 62.483 64.300+DNF 62.343+1 62.913 62.483 +8.7

    • 0 avatar

      Yo, Oz—

      It’s gonna end up being classed in D Street, according to the powers that be. It doesn’t make any sense in B Street, at all. That being said, I was able to run a Top 10 PAX time on wasted tires and brakes at KYR’s last event in BS. If I’d been in DS, I would have been 2nd overall.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    Congrats on the purchase! And good move with throwing everyone off with a picture of a Lexus dealership!

    In that case, is the FiST going back to the dealer in a few months? I’ve been seriously considering one for a while, moreso now since there seems to be fairly significant rebates on them right now.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    I am late to the party, but I have to ask the important question. Bark, why did you not tell us that you are really Matt Farah in disguise? First the FiST and now the FoRS? Not to mention Jack’s wife just happens to buy the FiST. Matt how do you shrink down to put on that Mark Baruth disguise?

  • avatar
    jnoble

    Last summer when I was at the local dealer working on the trade in for my new ’16 Focus ST (with the Recaro partial leather seats and 10 speaker Sony system and sunroof…all options I shouldve gotten the first time around with my ’13) I was talking with my salesguy about the RS. There was a blue one in the showroom with a sticker price of $37K + $options + $10K “market adjustment” = $50K. Salesguy said that the additional 10K was forced on them by the greedy suits at corporate and they had no leeway in waiving it. Wonder if that was true or varied from dealership to dealership since what some said here differed. I asked him “so if someone walks in and says they’ll pay the MSRP but not the extra 10, they’ll let him walk out?” and he said yeah, pretty much because it’s such a low production car.

  • avatar
    kinsha

    These will depriciate like a rock. Who the hell would want to buy a wrung out one used.

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