Tag Archives: article

Ford Focus RS – Hyped?


The new (2017 model) Ford Focus RS is the most hyped car I’ve ever seen.  All last year, people saw the buzzwords “drift mode” and “350 HP”.

Well, I want to point out a few things.

  1.  You don’t have to have a built-in mode in order to drift in an AWD car.  Seriously.
  2.  The Focus RS may make 350 HP at the crank, but a good portion of it isn’t making it to the wheels.

Let’s talk about bullet #2.

If you view the above URL, and look at the quarter-mile stats, you’ll notice that all three cars (the Ford Focus, the Subaru WRX STI, and the VW Golf R) have almost identical times and trap speeds.  The Focus has a 45-60 (crank) HP advantage, depending on the car being compared.  The trap speed of the Focus RS doesn’t show that advantage at ALL.  The Focus ran a 105 MPH trap speed, the STI ran a 104 MPH trap speed, and the Golf R ran a 105 MPH trap.

The car is rather new and hasn’t been compared/reviewed by other magazines (R&T, MT, Automobile).  In fact, I’ve only seen two dynos.

Also, I saw someone post that the car has overboost and that it runs overboost at 15 sec intervals and resets after that time frame.  It also resets after shifting, so if an RS is running a 1/4th-mile track, overboost will be reset at every shift, meaning overboost timing out isn’t a factor in the 1/4th-mile, yet it still only manages a 105 MPH trap.

Now, each of those three cars are designed for spirited driving, yes, but they are not designed with the quarter-mile in mind.  But again, that applies to all three cars.

The bottom line is, the Focus RS is either over-rated from the factory (not an unusual thing for Ford, from what I’ve heard), or something is sapping all that power, because it’s like 50 HP is AWOL.  It isn’t a gearing issue (the gearing is hardly aggressive enough to affect a 50 HP advantage).  It isn’t a weight issue (the RS weighs just as much as the STI).  A dyno chart I’ve seen hints that the RS isn’t peaky and doesn’t make a lot of power up high.  Another dyno chart showed 270 peak wheel HP, which is only 20 more than what an STI typically makes.  I’d like to see more dyno charts.

Another thing that people are hyping is that the Focus RS is far more upgradeable.  I’m not so sure about that.  This car is pretty much maxed out from the factory.  You might be able to get some minor gains from it but you’re not going to see a giant leap in HP with bolt-ons.  The argument against this is that the Mustang Ecoboost  has high upgrade potential, so the RS will have the same.  No.  The RS is using more robust parts already, just to get 40 more HP than the Ecoboost engine in the Mustang.  Any car that offers 350 HP from the factory is going to be over-engineered to the point that it’s going to be maxed out from the onset — that’s the case with the CLA45 AMG as well…it saw some gains in it’s latest iteration, but those weren’t all that significant.

Another thing I’ve heard:  The Focus will make the STI obsolete.  I doubt this.  Subaru has always marched by their own drum beat.  This isn’t the first time they’ve had competition.  Some say that Subaru is stagnant, which is true, but what they have works well enough for them.  Not every turbocharged AWD four-cylinder needs to make 350 – 400 HP.  We hear the same thing about the BRZ and FR-S, but I think those cars do fine with the 200 HP they have…they aren’t meant to be powerhouse-type cars, and neither is the STI.

The Focus isn’t really bringing anything to the table that Subaru doesn’t already have.  While the STI is using the old EJ257, the WRX uses the FA20DIT.  The AWD platform in the STI is certainly going to be more robust, though.  The Focus RS AWD platform is too “wizardly”.  There’s too much hocus-pocus going on with it.  It’s a GT-R wannabe.  We know it’ll put all power to the left- or right-side wheels and put up to 70% of the power to the rears when needed, but it’s basically a FWD-biased AWD system…not particularly good as it applies to track usage (the CLA45 AMG isn’t a good track car either, but it wasn’t designed with the track in mind…the Focus RS WAS designed with racing in mind).  The Focus RS’s AWD system is great for highway fuel economy because it’ll cruise with only the front wheels being powered.  That’s cool, but not something that Subaru is interested in.  If fuel economy is a major factor for you as an owner, the STI isn’t the best car for you and Subaru isn’t going to change their mind on that.  If that’s what you want, look down toward the WRX instead, but the WRX and the Focus RS are hardly competitors, as the Focus RS is going to out-class the WRX in a major way (on the track and on the street).  Those that are expecting Subaru to be afraid of the Focus RS don’t understand Subaru at all.

What I’d like to see is the other magazine publishers (R&T, Automobile, and/or MT) doing a comparison similar to what C&D did.  One thing that C&D didn’t do that seems very hokey is that they didn’t comment on the HP discrepancy of the Focus RS.  It almost appears that they purposely ignored it.  Fortunately, it was noticed by the readers and it has been heavily discussed in the comments of the article I mentioned above.  I also found another forum (http://www.focusrs.org/) that has a thread of similar concerns, from actual owners of Focus RSs. So yeah, this is a real concern, especially for someone willing to spend between $30K-$40K on such a car.  It means the product they bought isn’t as advertised.

Do I want Subaru to improve the STI?  Yes, I do.  Do I want a FA20DIT-engined STI?  NO.  Why?  I believe that engine won’t do well in an STI.  There’s a reason why the USDM and JDM STIs aren’t running the FA20DIT engines, and it’s probably because they want an engine that is just as peaky as the EJ207 and EJ257.  The FA20DIT is not that engine.  I believe I’ve said this in other posts on this website, too.  Subaru’s Nurburgring car was powered by the EJ207.  All of their recent JDM special editions have been powered by EJ207 variants.  When I see Subaru using the FA20DIT in their STI variants (street and track vehicles), I’ll eat crow.   A new version of the Focus RS isn’t going to push Subaru into desperation.  I honestly think Subaru doesn’t care.

2015 Subaru WRX STI vs. 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi



Car & Driver pits the 2015 and 2004 Subaru WRX STIs against each other, finding that although there’s more than 10 years of development between them, they’re still awfully similar in performance.

This was a great read.  As well, the article comments can give reader insight (or laughs).


Paul Walker dead at 40: Speed a factor in crash that killed ‘Fast and Furious’ star

Speed played a role in the one-car crash that killed “The Fast and the Furious” actor Paul Walker in Southern California on Saturday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Walker, 40, was a passenger in the red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that crashed into a utility pole and burst into flames in the city of Santa Clarita on Saturday afternoon.

“Speed was a factor in the solo vehicle collision,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

Read more @ http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-paul-walker-dead-20131201,0,6107365.story

The five best ski cars of 2013

The five best ski cars of 2013 – Road & Track


You should read the article. I have no idea who compiled the list, but the listing is rather odd. There’s only one car that might actually be capable of tackling snow-covered roads without having snow tires fitted (the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8). I’m rather surprised that a Subaru didn’t make that list (in fact, no AWD car did, besides that $$$ Benz).


What’s funny is the comments on R&T’s Facebook page. Most people are saying that AWD cars are the only cars capable of driving in the snow. That’s not true. I drove a 1987 Dodge Colt for 3 years while living in Colorado, on all-seasons. That car was FWD. I had no problems driving in mountains or in bad blizzards while traveling to Wyoming from Colorado Springs. I’m not talking about a light dusting of snow, either. I’m talking about 1+ feet of snow, and in some cases, it accumulating faster than the plows can catch up (and some places wouldn’t be plowed until the snowfall was over). Now, a FWD car with snows still won’t drive like an AWD car, but it is far more capable than most people think. Also, I tend to see far more AWD/4WD vehicles in ditches in the winter than FWD cars…just sayin’.


You can read the article @ http://www.roadandtrack.com/features/web-originals/the-best-ski-cars-of-2013?src=spr_FBPAGE&spr_id=1459_32800568

Subaru defends WRX’s simplified styling, claims handling was better investment

Subaru defends WRX’s simplified styling, claims handling was better investment – CarAdvice


Subaru claims that improving the handling on its all-new WRX sedan took priority over styling, with the new model’s watered-down design a clear deviation on the sleek concept version glimpsed earlier this year.


Read more @ http://www.caradvice.com.au/260993/subaru-defends-wrxs-disappointing-styling-claims-handling-better-investment/

All-new Subaru WRX benchmarks Porsche 911’s agile handling

All-new Subaru WRX benchmarks Porsche 911?s agile handling – CarAdvice


Subaru engineers singled out the latest Porsche 911 as its performance benchmark in its bid to substantially lift the handling prowess of the all-new, fourth-generation Subaru WRX.


Read more @ http://www.caradvice.com.au/260933/new-subaru-wrx-benchmarks-porsche-911s-agile-handling/

The history of the Subaru Impreza WRX

The history of the Subaru Impreza WRX – Road & Track


The response to Subaru’s WRX concept is immense and immediate: damn, that’s a good-looking ride. Wait, are we sure it’s a Subaru? Yes? Well, the model they actually build probably won’t look anything like it.

As far as the Subaru faithful are concerned, the new WRX could look like a rutabaga with a hood-scoop, just as long as the driving experience remains faithful to its turbocharged heritage. Here’s a brief history of what makes the WRX so great.


Read more @ http://www.roadandtrack.com/features/web-originals/history-subaru-impreza-wrx


Mod comments:

I like this article (published by R&T in April 2013, as it attempts to track the history of the WRX (and even has an STI listed – the 22B).


SCOOP: New Subaru WRX STI – Motoring AU


Subaru has confirmed its all-new WRX will make its world debut at the Los Angeles motor show next week (November 20), and now motoring.com.au can reveal the higher-performance STI version will break cover at the Detroit show in January.


As well:

The WRX will be powered by a revised version of the current model’s EJ25 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine, pumping out 195kW of power and 330Nm of torque – around the same as the outgoing model (195kW/343Nm).

The STI, on the other hand, will employ the same engine but with tweaks to bring its outputs to 224kW and 393Nm, making it marginally more powerful than the current STI (221kW) and putting its torque peak between the existing model’s two different outputs, depending on transmission (350Nm auto, 407Nm manual).


Read more @ http://www.motoring.com.au/news/2013/small-passenger/subaru/impreza/scoop-new-subaru-wrx-sti-40033



Mod comments:

I’d thought that I’d read in previous articles that the WRX and STI would be getting a 2.0L flat-4 engine.  The article states that both will have a 2.5L (which would be retarded, since the US has been having ringland issues with the 2.5L).  I’m not a fan of the current 2.5L engine.  Subaru has had a history of issues in tuning 2.5Ls in the US (to meet emissions standards), so the cars have a really bad tune from the factory.  As well, the 2.5L is not rev-happy (and banging off the rev-limiter is one of the things one shouldn’t be doing with the bad tune problems, possible fuel rail problems, and the suspect metallurgy of the pistons.  I’d be open to getting a 2015+ STI if it had an engine that wasn’t prone to blowing up!