2009 Ford Focus RS
Ford’s Rallye Sport division is their European rally racing arm, and it is under RS’s expert team that the Focus RS was developed. Ford had been racing their first-generation Focus RS in WRC racing, and when the replacement car hit the streets (in Europe, but not in North America, where the old Focus held out until the third-generation car was released) a new RS WRC version was created. The success of that version, and the lessons learned from its development, have trickled down to one of the most extreme hot hatches to see street duty. From the bonkers inline five cylinder motor, turbocharged to produce 300 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs. of torque, to the wild exterior that looks more at home on a special stage than a grocery parking lot, the Focus RS is a serious driving machine. It’s also front-wheel drive, not all-wheel drive, which is not the performance liability it sounds due to a couple of very trick technologies. First, there’s an advanced limited slip differential that reduces torque steer. Then, there are “Revo-Knuckles,” a new type of lower control link that further minimizes the twisting effect common in front-drivers. There are few hatchbacks, front-drive or not, that can match the RS’s competence on track or its fun-to-drive factor.
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Super Hot Hatch