The juicy tidbits:
The Volkswagen Golf R? The Subaru WRX STI? Ford rooster-tails sand in their faces with the announcement that the awesome new Focus RS will make a staggering 345 horsepower from its 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. The VW packs 292 horsepower, the STI 305.
Ford claimed “more than 315 horsepower” when it first detailed the car in February, and this announcement more than fulfills that promise. The word comes ahead of the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where Ford rally driver and RS development consultant Ken Block will run the all-wheel-drive superhatch up the hill.
Also confirmed: the RS’s torque figure, which comes in at 325 lb-ft between 2000 and 4500 rpm. An overboost function allows for a maximum of 347 lb-ft for up to 15 seconds when the driver’s right foot is buried against the firewall. (For further comparison, the Golf R peaks at 280 lb-ft and the STI at 290.) The EcoBoost’s rev limiter cuts in at 6800 rpm.
People continue to harp that this is more than the Subaru WRX STI. Yes it is…that’s extremely obvious. But there are some things that Subaru has going for it’s flagship.
The WRX STI will be a LOT cheaper and less limited, production-wise.
As well, the Subaru offers true AWD. Having 100% power directed to the rears or fronts means that the car isn’t really AWD. Yes, such a system gives better fuel economy, but I highly doubt it’s going to be as agile in inclement weather with such a system. Subaru’s AWD technology is very much second-to-none when compared to all cars in it’s category and several outside of it’s genre.
Resale value will be another item to ponder with the Focus RS, even with it being sold in limited qualities, will they retain value as well as Subaru’s STIs? Blue Book value one a 2011 Subaru WRX STI that was sold at $32,000 can be between $24,500 and $29,500 (low price being rough value and high price being excellent condition value)…that’s on a 4-year old JAPANESE make. In my opinion, that’s extreme value retainment for a car that isn’t really considered a limited edition model (they are sold in limited quantities but are not limited to such low counts as to be considered a limited edition model). The Focus RS may retain value just as well or even better, but only because it would be an actual limited production car, which probably makes comparing resale an apples/oranges comparison.
Subaru’s aftermarket is HUGE…much larger than Ford’s Focus aftermarket. The Focus may have better modification potential due to it’s more modern engine, but it’s a bit difficult to compare modification potential objectively since the technology between the two engines are so different. I doubt the Focus RS aftermarket will top Subaru’s, since the car will be sold in limited numbers.
There’s no doubt the Focus will be the better car, but that’ doesn’t mean the STI will become irrelevant. Ford will have to prove it’s better…on racing circuits and in video and e-zine reviews…not just on paper. And, again, there’s a drastic difference between the two cars. The Focus RS would better compare to the Mercedes CLA-45 AMG (which is a front-biased AWD car with 350-HP from a turbocharged inline-four — it has much more in common with the Ford Focus RS than a Subaru WRX STI).