If we stick to the data on the data sheet that appears a little later, it would be easy to conclude that this Focus RS 2.3 4WD of 350 hp is – among those derived from a C segment – the most rabid, More powerful, faster and all the “more” we can think of; In short, the most sportive of them all. Because it has a 2.4 liter cubicle engine, when its rivals stay at the limit of 2 liters; Because its power is set at 350 hp, when its rivals (group VAG and Civic Type-R) do not exceed 310 hp; And because it has all-wheel drive, just like some versions -Golf-R and Audi S3- of the VAG group cars.
But this is not entirely true, because perhaps we have not looked at the data sheet in detail. Because there is a couple of data that overthrow this supremacy: above all the weight, but also the aerodynamics. And the Focus RS, in empty, scrapes the ton and a half; And that’s a lot of weight for any sports car. Just as the size – although not in the case of the RS – also represents a complicated barrier, which neither the gross power nor a better weight-to-power ratio can compensate, except in very fast paths and over wide wide road.
I think it is important to make this very clear from the outset, because the ultimate valuation of a car as a purebred sports car depends on the combination of all these variables. And since we have mentioned the weight in the first place, let’s make a quick recount: our Focus RS 350 hp weighs 1.485 kilos, while the Peugeot 308-GTi has 272 hp for 1,205 kilos; The Civic Type-R has 310 hp for 1,380 kilos; The Lion Cupra has 280 hp (I speak of the cars here tested) for 1,320 kilos; And “Focus’s cousin Zumosol”, ie the Mustang 5.0 V8, has 421 hp for 1,720 kilos. I have put the latter, clearly out of the reasonable comparison, to underline the fact that gross power is not the only – or perhaps best – measure of a car’s sporting capacity.
Because, by the same order in which we just mentioned, the weight / power ratio of these five cars, expressed in kilos / CV, is the following: 4,24; 4.43; 4.45; 4.71 and 4.09. With that we would conclude that the Mustang is the sportiest of all, and the Cupra the worst; When in practice you can check that it is probably just the opposite (especially putting the Cupra DSG change). An added problem of the weight is that, except by resorting to measures that are taken, the increased section of the mounted tire almost never goes in proportion to the increase of the weight. If we compare the Focus with the 308-GTi, we see that both have exactly the same tire (make, type and measure), and in the Peugeot mounted on a rim one inch wider. And that with a difference of 280 kilos of weight in favor of the 308; It is obvious that in the curve support, And let’s not say in the tenth of a second initials when inserting them in the same, the French car carries an undoubted advantage. And with respect to the Mustang’s rear-wheel drive, the 308 also has a 22% lead by comparing section vs. weight.
On the other hand, although not always, more weight supposes greater size. And the Mustang is less sporty than the other four cars we talked about, despite having more power and better weight / power ratio. Because the handling is not just as agile, since it depends – and much – on the size, and the relationship between weight and widths of tire and tire. And then there is the aerodynamics, when in 6th and very high speed (say 200 km / h onwards) there is already little acceleration, and what counts is gross power versus S.Cx. And in that ratio the Focus loses against Mustang and Civic, and hardly improves to the other three, since its Cx of 0.80 is worse than the 0.71 of Mustang, 0,69 of the Type-R, 0 , 67 of the Cupra and 0.66 of the 308.
To summarize: Ford has tried to make a car full of technology and performance, but he did not want to give up that it is also very luxurious: automatic climate control, all kinds of infotainment, heated steering wheel, etc. etc. And all that makes the reading of the scale go up inexorably.