Thursday, July 21, 2016

Yeah, Focus RS!

Back in 2002 I was reading Evo magazine and gawking at a crazy Ford focus available in Europe only. That car was the Focus RS, and it made 212 hp from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It had lightweight O.Z. wheels, Brembo brakes, fancy shocks, and came in any color you wanted as long as it was Imperial Blue. That car sounded pretty appealing to me, but of course here in America we never get the best overseas cars, so I didn't have much hope of seeing the Focus RS here.

Seven or so years went by and I read about another Focus RS. This second-generation version went from eyebrow-raising to clutch-your-children-close bat-poop crazy, with a 301 hp turbo five-cylinder engine driving just two front wheels. Oh, and it also came in a retina-searing green color. Of course we didn't get that car in American either. So unfair!

Imagine my surprise when the automotive press reported the third-generation Focus RS would indeed be sold in the U.S. It would be all-wheel-drive, and powered by a four-cylinder turbo with "more than 300" horsepower. Well, that sounds like Mach V material right there. I went down to my local dealership...actually, I had to go farther afield then that to find a car at a price that didn't seem too unreasonable. Thanks, Porter Ford of Newark, Delaware! Anyway, I brought one back to the shop.

In terms of options, our car is spec'd as lightly as you can get, with the exception of that Nitrous Blue paint. Prior to this almost all our shop cars have been white, but I just could not turn down this car's trademark color. The Nitrous Blue does look amazing, especially in the sunlight. It's got a thick, deep metal flake in it that is really dramatic in direct light. At dusk (see above), it's more muted, but it still is a beautiful finish. Did you know it's a four-stage paint process?

Of course I do have some plans for modifying the car. The first few things will be some window tint to keep the interior heat down a bit, and some clear film to protect that nose of the car from rock chips. Next up will likely be some wheels. The stock wheels look fine, but they are 27 pounds each, according to the internet. The optional forged factory wheels are two pounds lighter, but that's still a lot. At this point I don't think anything from our existing catalog will fit -- I am not sure our 18x9.5" Mach V Wicked Awesome wheels would work because of the width, even if the car didn't have the unusual 5x108 bolt pattern. We'll see what else we can come up with.

Oh yes, I almost forgot: There's a Cobb AccessPort for this car! If you aren't already familiar with it, the AccessPort is a handheld ECU programmer that plugs into the car's OBD-II diagnostic port. It reflashes the ECU with a revised program, altering turbo boost, fuel, ignition timing, and more. The result is more horsepower and torque, without any hardware modifications to the car. As we upgrade other parts, we'll be able to use the AccessPort to further fine-tune the ECU programming to match.

I loaded the new AccessPort ECU program onto our car's ECU earlier today. It took about fifteen minutes, and there was no drama or fuss.Poof, another 17+ peak horsepower, and even more torque. What's not to like?

I could mount the AccessPort on the dash (the mount is included) for live data display, but you don't have to, so for now I just stored it in the glove box.

If you know me, you probably are asking why I didn't already have the car on the dyno. Well, I do want to give the engine a tiny bit of break-in time. But I promise an update in the future with actual numbers from our actual Dynojet dyno, both stock and with the Cobb Stage 1 map installed.

Watch this blog for more updates on this car, including those dyno numbers, more modification plans, and other Focus RS news.

Products mentioned in this post:
Cobb AccessPort for Focus RS

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