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Drove Both American and German take on RSes


Frisky Dingo

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So our regular client and mega baller who graces us with all kinds of great specialty used cars just worked out a deal for us to get 7 of his cars, and among them were a Focus RS and new TT RS. I didn't get a really long drive in either, but here is a brief review and my impressions of each-

 

Focus RS- This car was actually a positive surprise. The interior is markedly inferior to a Golf R. But it's really not terrible. It's not quite as intuitive or quality feeling, but it's miles better than an Evo, and still better than an STI, imo. The ride is definitely stiff and way rougher than a Golf R even in 'Race'. But it's not unbearable. It really is only a problem on roads with lots of heaves or expansion joints. As well as the stiff ride, it's also very noisy. Part of that is due to the Sport Cup 2 rubber. The payoff here, of course, is driving excitement. I cannot lie, it is a cut above the R in terms of driving dynamics and drama. The engine sounds raw and guttural, the power delivery is thrilling, and the car just goads you into driving like a buffoon. The steering is much more direct, sharper, faster, and more wholesome in feel than that found in the R. It was definitely more focused on outright 'fun' than all-around usability, like in the R. And I like that about it. It's a very different feeling car, with a very different mindset. That said, I couldn't justify this car as a DD, personally. Although I loved it's visceral nature and playful character, it's quite an aggressive to companion to live with everyday. Sport Cup 2's are pricey, and don't last long and you're looking at some pretty high running costs for a compact hatchback. In short, it's a better sportscar than a Golf R, but I hesitate to say it's a better hatchback. I'd buy one over an STI, however, no question.

 

TT RS- This was was somewhat of a negative surprise. Let's start with the good stuff. The looks are fantastic. It looks squat, aggressive, purposeful, and just generally ready to terrorize the road. And it happily will do so. This car is a beast on the streets. It's mega traction, diminutive size, approachable demeanor, and ballistic acceleration all come together to obliterate traffic and stretches of pavement alike. I struggle to think of another car that is as devastatingly effective and quick on public roads. It's one-generation-ago 911 Turbo like explosiveness, and few cars short of a Tesla or the latest crop of boosted 911's are going to be much of a match for it. Your C7 Stingrays, Mustang GT's, 335i's, and Lexus F's are laughed at and disposed of with ease by this car. For someone that didn't have people hauling needs, but wanted a do-it-all fun car for the road, you'd be hard-pressed to top this thing. It's supercar like performance in a usable, comfortable, nicely equipped, easy to exploit package.

But if you looked at from a different perspective- one as a value equation, or as a weekend toy when your lux sedan is in the garage, it becomes somewhat hard to justify. Let's talk value. This car was 75K. That's a pretty big chunk of money. It's pretty close to 2x the cost of a Golf R. It is not 2x the car. Not in performance, driving fun, or equipment/luxury. In fact, it feels like a Golf R turned up to '13'. Which, in a way, is pretty much what it is. There is painfully clear connection and familiarity that anyone who has driven a Golf or Audi A3 would instantly recognize. For better or for worse. And for the price, as a toy, it's a little lacking in excitement and tactility. This car is not as engaging as a 75-80K Cayman S or GT350R. Fun as it is, it's not as pure, immersive, involving, or thrilling  as some other options this kind of money presents. Even the sound needed a little more edge and aggressiveness, and this car had the Sport Exhaust option. I think I would be totally happy going down 17K in price, and getting what has to be 95% of what this car has to offer from it's stablemate the RS3. Or spending 75K and getting a new GTI and a Camaro SS 1LE.

But still an awesome car that I'm glad I finally got to drive!

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1 hour ago, FAPTurbo said:

the focus rs is a dumb car at its asking price and i'm surprised people are buying them at all when the golf R exists, especially since ford dealers are marking rs' so ridiculously.

True, so ridiculously overpriced.

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1 hour ago, ocnblu said:

A friend of a friend whispered that the high-powered Foci are eating head gaskets.

The gentleman in my avatar pic in front of me test drove one straight off of the semi that delivered it.  It blew a head gasket on the test drive.

Gorgeous blue RS in my neighborhood, I parked next to it at the polling place when I voted.  But given that kind of coin for a hot hatch I would own a Golf R so fast it would make your head spin.

3 hours ago, FAPTurbo said:

the focus rs is a dumb car at its asking price and i'm surprised people are buying them at all when the golf R exists, especially since ford dealers are marking rs' so ridiculously.

I would upvote this by ten thousand if I could.

And I would so buy a used 911 or an F type as a pricey fun car.

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@A Horse With No Name and @dfelt and @FAPTurbo

 

I don't know that I think the RS is overpriced at sticker. It's a lot of car, and it's a lot of fun. It just takes a very certain kind of individual to be enticed by what it has to offer in its body type and segment. To me, it's almost closer to an outright sportscar in terms of the compromises you make and it's shortcomings than it is something like a Golf R. The R is like a polished assassin in a suit and tie, and the RS is like Rambo toting around an M2 Browning.

Edited by Frisky Dingo
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@Frisky Dingo I am curious if you had a chance to drive Focus ST?  How is it compared to GTI?

Personally I like Focus RS, I think I would take it over the Golf R but if I were on the market for that kind of car  I would need to do extensive test drive before making any conclusions and I haven't driven either, 

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19 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

@A Horse With No Name and @dfelt and @FAPTurbo

 

I don't know that I think the RS is overpriced at sticker. It's a lot of car, and it's a lot of fun. It just takes a very certain kind of individual to be enticed by what it has to offer in its body type and segment. To me, it's almost closer to an outright sportscar in terms of the compromises you make and it's shortcomings than it is something like a Golf R. The R is like a polished assassin in a suit and tie, and the RS is like Rambo toting around an M2 Browning.

The problem that I have is that a car like that is close but no cigar....40K will buy me a used C6 or a used Shelby.

2 minutes ago, ykX said:

@Frisky Dingo I am curious if you had a chance to drive Focus ST?  How is it compared to GTI?

Personally I like Focus RS, I think I would take it over the Golf R but if I were on the market for that kind of car  I would need to do extensive test drive before making any conclusions and I haven't driven either, 

Different strokes for different folks.  Any hatch is going to be a hatch for practicality reasons, the R will be much easier to live with.

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1 minute ago, ykX said:

@Frisky Dingo I am curious if you had a chance to drive Focus ST?  How is it compared to GTI?

Personally I like Focus RS, I think I would take it over the Golf R but if I were on the market for that kind of car  I would need to do extensive test drive before making any conclusions and I haven't driven either, 

I have driven the Focus ST on several occasions, and very hard on some very good roads. It's a decent little car.


But there's a problem. While the RS is rougher and more ragged but adds excitement and performance over a Golf R, the ST has inferior performance to the GTI, only a dash more sharpness/fun, while being far behind in refinement, tech, comfort, and features. It's an entire generation behind. And once modding/tuning comes into the equation, the gulf just widens. 

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