05 Ford Focus RS

Ready to kick ‘RS’ with 257kW and 470Nm for $50,990

FOR ANYONE with veins of Castrol and a turbocharged heart, the Ford Focus RS is the most anticipated car of 2016. The shark-like nose houses a 2.3-litre turbo four that delivers 257kW/440Nm and another 20Nm on 15-second overboost before a 6800rpm cut-out.

Even saddled with an old-fashioned six-speed manual it belts from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, while Ford promises the exhaust crackles more than pork emerging from an oven at Christmas. If it’s all sounding like a dreamy gift from Santa so far, note the all-wheel drive hyper-hatch also scores a mode that “allows controlled oversteer drifts” (see p120).

Proper torque vectoring can sling 70 per cent of the drive rearward and then 90 per cent to a single rear wheel. It seems Ford has read every driving enthusiast’s wish list and we can’t wait to get behind the wheel early in 2016.

While the ingredients used to create this fast Ford mimic the AMG A45 and Audi RS3 premium crew, the $50,990 Focus undercuts both by almost $30K and is priced to compete with Renault Megane RS 275 and Volkswagen Golf R. Add in optional lightweight wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and you could be looking at the new hot hatch benchmark.