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by Mihnea Radu, 3rd February 2015

RS Fords really don't come around that often, no matter what Ford marketing executives may promise. And this all-new Focus RS, the third such model ever made, is even more special than the two that came before because it's the first AWD. With the horsepower wars being waged by Ford, Renault and VW Group, it was only a matter of time before the front wheels were overwhelmed.

Thus, the 2016 Focus RS is the first to adopt an all-wheel drive system benefiting from dynamic torque vectoring control that can send up to 70% of the torque to the rear or 100% to one side of the car. Complete specs are not available yet, but the 2.3-liter turbo engine is rated at "over 320 hp" and 0 to 60 mph times will fall somewhere between 4.5 and 5 seconds. That's Porsche Boxster territory!

Of course, that also means that Ford will have to deal with altogether more competent rivals, the first of which is the Golf 7 R, which has been around for over a year. It too uses a four-cylinder turbo engine and all-wheel drive, but because it's smaller 2-liter, the output is only 300 PS, 292 if you're looking at the US market model.

The old Focus RS Mk2 could eat the Golf R of its time (R32) for breakfast without even having all-wheel drive, so around a track, Ken Block's car will eat the Germans for breakfast. Realistically speaking though, ver few VW fans will be tempted by the Focus for two big reasons: it doesn't have the same build quality and it's not as easy to live with. Believe it or not, but this hatch can get to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds AND consumes just 5.9 liters of fuel per 100 km combined, thanks to selectable driving models.

For a much more worthy adversary, Ford need only ask around Audi's parking lot. Their brand new RS3 still uses the 5-cylinder turbo setup, which they dropped. With 367 PS, a reworked quattro all-wheel drive system and the standard 7-speed S tronic gearbox, the Rennsport A3 blitzes 100 km/h in only 4.3 seconds.

As if this 3-way battle wasn't complicated enough to analyze, we have to look at the price as well, which of course will vary depending on the market. In Germany, the RS3 will sticker for €56,600 while a DSG-equipped Golf R is more reasonable at €41,000.

No official pricing information about the Ford is available at the moment, but the 2016 Focus RS will hit dealerships early next year at $37,900, making it slightly more expensive than the Subaru WRX STI and the $36,595 2015 Golf R (US-spec).

If money is no object, the Audi RS3 is the one to have, but those living in America aren't allowed to buy it and Ford's track toy may be an awesome substitute. Plus it comes with a pure-hearted manual gearbox!


2016 Ford Focus RS vs Golf R and Audi RS3 - Hyper Hatch Photo Comparison - autoevolution
 

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I can has all 3 please?
 

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For me the RS3 fails in two areas. Yes the interior of an Audi is top notch, but same on them and Benz for what looks like they just slapped the nav screen on top of the dash. It should be integrated into the dash, not set on top with a motorized screen. And it doesn't offer a manual transmission with a clutch. And not to mention i can't buy one here in the States. Focus RS for me.
 

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I don't care how they look, just how they drive. VW has always been way to conservative with their set ups, making them dull and boring at the limit.
 

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This is great comparison for AWD hyper hatches, and we may have to through the Golf 400R in there at some point too. So it'll be: R v. RS v. RS3 v. 400R ... go ahead and say that with a pirate voice for dramatic affect. =)

I've watched pretty much everything I can find on these 3 cars on youtube and digested all the journalists opinions. The R and RS3 come across as extremely competent, but relatively civilized compared to the RS. I think a lot of people will choose them simply because the Ford is a bit "downmarket" in a lot of peoples minds or because they're likely to be more comfortable daily drivers. If the RS wasn't coming, they'd be near the top of my list too. I adore the sound of the 5-cylinder in the RS3. However, the sheer lunacy of the RS is what has swayed me.
 

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This is great comparison for AWD hyper hatches, and we may have to through the Golf 400R in there at some point too. So it'll be: R v. RS v. RS3 v. 400R ... go ahead and say that with a pirate voice for dramatic affect. =)

I've watched pretty much everything I can find on these 3 cars on youtube and digested all the journalists opinions. The R and RS3 come across as extremely competent, but relatively civilized compared to the RS. I think a lot of people will choose them simply because the Ford is a bit "downmarket" in a lot of peoples minds or because they're likely to be more comfortable daily drivers. If the RS wasn't coming, they'd be near the top of my list too. I adore the sound of the 5-cylinder in the RS3. However, the sheer lunacy of the RS is what has swayed me.
Agreed, I'm a huge fan of cars that don't make sense. Nothing beats the feeling of having a car that everyone discredits until you walk them in a race:) But then again I'm coming from the cobalt world where GM stuffed an excellent engine into a POS car...

As for the comparison, I actually like the look of the interior of the RS more. I can't stand the vents in the audi or where the radio screen is, I like the simplicity of the RS and how it looks like everything kinda flows together.
 

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The grown up in me says rs3. The golf R is more realistic option tho without the killer 5cyl. The RS is third on my list if money wasn't an option. However I have been waiting for ford to bring the RS to the states for over two decades.
 

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The grown up in me says rs3. The golf R is more realistic option tho without the killer 5cyl. The RS is third on my list if money wasn't an option. However I have been waiting for ford to bring the RS to the states for over two decades.
The question you really need to be asking is how much do you like understeer, then the answer will be clear out of those 3 lol.
 

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Death to understeer!

I do know from auto show/wandering experience that Audis have the best smelling interiors in the business.
If I didn't think the RS would be way more fun to drive than those two, I wouldn't even shop this segment. The R and RS3 are very nice, handsome, luxurious, delightful and capable cars for someone else.
 

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the Audi is of course the nicest looking interior and exterior, but no manual?
also, the price tag on that thing is a little too high for me... and i am not huge on VW's, their styling just doesnt go well with what i like.
But the RS just seems to be more of the driver car, i would much rather go on a canyon run through some mountains in the RS than any thing else
 

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He's got an interesting take on the R. He makes a comment about the front end of the Golf R being so eager on the road, but feeling wooden and spongy on-track. I'm looking around the web, trying to find a similar comment about any car, because I wonder how that is so. Spring rates in the front end, perhaps?
That RS3 has sounds glorious.
 

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The video only makes me think how much better of a deal the Seat Leon Cupra 280 is.

Somehow the Mercedes A45 AMG is doing much better than the Golf R or the STI on certain tracks. I'm thinking there must be something wrong with that RS3 cause S3 isn't that slow or that much different than the RS3 or the Golf R
 
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