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FORD FOCUS RS
Hot Fords always appeal to fans of lairy thrills, but the new RS o ers a more grown-up experience
THIS CAR IS, BY SOME MARGIN,
THE BEST RS MODEL OF ALL TIME
ubtle is not a word often applied to Ford's RS models over
the years: many of the Focus RS's predecessors have been
more associated with joyriding than dynamic finesse.
While the new RS has a similarly forceful look, the driving
experience has been hugely improved by a very advanced four-wheel
drive system, putting it among the minority of RS models that
don't have massively more power than grip.
�e trick rear axle can send different amounts of torque to each
side, known as "vectoring", giving the RS an aggressive turn-in
and much of the feeling of powerful rear-wheel drive, while having
the security of actually splitting its 350bhp output between all four
corners. It also has a "Drift Mode", meaning it can be powered
sideways by those looking to live out their Fast & Furious fantasies.
But what is most impressive about this model is just how
effortless it makes seriously fast progress; very few cars are as
easy or unscary to drive at the limit, yet this rather innocuouslooking
back-road pace to humble all
but the most exotic rivals.
�is car is, by quite some
margin, the best RS model
of all time.
BEST BIT: Back-road pace,
well-priced against rivals.
WORST BIT: Wideboy image,
FORD FOCUS RS
Engine: 2.3-litre fourcylinder,
0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
Top speed: 165mph
ABARTH 124 SPIDER
Abarth has been tweaking Fiats since the company was established
in 1949 and the not-yet-launched Fiat Spider will be no exception to
the rule. If you're thinking it looks familiar, that's because it is
closely related to the newly launched (and excellent) Mazda
MX-5, giving both Fiat and Abarth the best possible start in
life. The Abarth Spider will use a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine
producing 170bhp and will weigh around 50kg less than its Fiat
sibling, helping to sharpen performance. The concept car made
its debut at the Geneva motor show and also featured some very
cool retro paintwork that we sincerely hope makes production.