The Focus RS had been getting a ton of praise lately. As people in the US start to get their cars, they also are going to start their modifications. Check out this video showing what parts of the RS should be changed, and what parts should be left alone:
Tuning a 2016 Ford Focus RS
- Intake – This is pretty much a no-brainer. Stock intakes just don’t let you get enough air into the engine to keep up with that feisty little car. Switch it out for something with a little more open and a little more stylish to go with the sleek lines of the engine.
- Exhaust – While not strictly necessary, there’s nothing quite like being able to really hear the purr of your RS’s engine. Upgrading the exhaust is a great way to adjust the rear end’s look as well.
- Springs – The stock springs are pretty decent, but they do run a little high for our tastes, especially if you want to use that nifty drift setting. Swap them out for something that gives you a bit lower ground clearance to improve your handling.
- Brake Pads/Rotors – While the RS does come with some pretty sweet performance calipers, the stock pads and rotors leave a lot to be desired. Upgrade to some performance pads and rotors to get the best stopping power.
Take It or Leave it
OK, now that we have an idea of the things that probably should be changed, how about the things that you might want to take a second look at? Here are a few things that work just fine as is, but you might want to consider changing them anyway.
- Wheels – The stock 19-inch rims look pretty sweet in and of themselves, but as we all know, stock doesn’t always cut it when you’re looking to perfect that ideal look.
- Seats – The basic package comes with two bucket seats upholstered in a combination of fabric and leather. Upgrade to one of the feature packages and you can swing full leather seats, but you may end up wanting to change these out just to improve the aesthetics of the car.
- Carbon Fiber – If you want to lower the weight of the car, swapping out the hood for a carbon fiber replacement is good place to start, since the RS doesn’t come with any stock carbon fiber parts.
Leave It Alone
Of course, we’ve saved the best for last – the features that set the RS apart from other cars in its class.
- Intercooler – Ford has outdone itself this time. The intercooler they installed on the RS actually works too well. Most models now have a large blanking plate installed to lower the efficiency of the intercooler to prevent water vapor buildup.
- Brake Calipers – Don’t mess with perfection. The RS already comes equipped with a pretty sweet set of Brembo calipers, so as I mentioned before, all you really need to upgrade is the rotors and pads.
Overall, this new iteration of the Focus has definitely changed my mind when it comes to these little compact sports cars. While it’s not the cheapest car in its class, starting at about $41,000, it’s definitely worth the cost, especially when you can tweak it to make even better.
I think weight-reduction is the best strategy for better braking and acceleration performance. Reducing vehicle weight by 150 lbs would be attainable and worthwhile. Mentioned in this article is a carbon fibre hood. I once saw in a Los Angeles speed shop a GTR with all its body panels made in carbon fibre. The Focus RS is worth a similar level of love and attention.
Quite involved is replacing steel suspension arms with alloy items but would be worthwhile. Ceramic rotors too would remove even more weight, unsprung weight.
I’ve been driving my RS for two weeks now. What a great car it is for powering along twisty bumpy country roads here in New Zealand.
‘One Ford’ – the strategy is only just getting bedded down. We ain’t seen nothin yet.
Many tuners have reported heat soak in the stock intercooler during hard running sessions or prolonged aggressive street driving. This car does really well with cold dense air charges. Aftermarket intercoolers result in much more predictable performance in the RS.