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Focus RS MK1 Buying Guide

The Focus RS was built in the Saarlouis plant at a rate of 30 a day maximum

Typical VIN number for the MK Focus RS is WFoBXXACD

The engine number of the car should match the last 7 digits of the VIN

The Focus RS came with a unique leather-covered log book with RS on the cover. There should also be an additional RS manual specifically for the RS.

The Focus RS was launched in 2002 and a total of 4501 were built and it cost 19,995GBP new

The Focus RS looks meaner than a normal Focus through wider arches and deeper front bumper.

The interior had many Sparco accessories and it also made good use of Alcantara and leather

The Focus RS MK1 has 18inch wheels by OZ with 4 piston Brembo brake calipers

Focus RS MK1 Buying Guide – Engine

The engine was badged a Duratec but was actually an evolution of the Zetec engine but with an improved oiling system

The Focus RS should be run with 97RON fuel at a minimum

Problems include a leak around the water coolant outlet from the turbo to the thermostat and leaks can also occur around the water pump

Power steering hose clips can rub against other hoses causing leaks so they are worth checking.

Ford Focus RS Buying Guide MK1 – Front

Focus RS MK1 Buying Guide – Interior

The top of the range Focus did not come with an intermittent wipe function so it is common for owners to fit the option from a Ghia model.

The interior came with Sparco seats, Sparco alloy pedals and Sparco handbrake handle.

The centre console is made from genuine carbon fibre and is fitted with a green push button starter.

The gauge faces were blue

Standard equipment on the Focus RS included air conditioning, cd player and electric everything.

The Focus RS did not come with a water temp gauge but GGR have an aftermarket solution which puts a gauge in the space used by the coin tray.

Ford Focus RS Buying Guide MK1 – Interior Photo

Focus RS Buying Guide – Wheels and Tyres

The 18×8 OZ wheels are unique to the Focus RS so check  for kerbing. If the wheels are kerbed then the suspension could also be damaged. Check for even tyre wear.

Focus RS Specs

Engine: 2litre 16v, 84.8mm bore, 88mm stroke, sodium filled exhaust valves, EEC-V engine management, forged pistons and connecting rods

Power: 212bhp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 229lbs/ft @ 3,500rpm

0-60mph: 6.4secs

Max Speed: 144mph

Transmission: MTX75 5 Speed manual, revised gear ratios, Quaife ATB diff, uprated drive shafts, short shift, AP clutch kit

Suspension: McPherson strut, 65mm increase front track, rear control blade suspension

Brakes: Brembo 4 piston calipers front, 325mm brake discs, rear 280mm rear discs solid, ABS, Bosch MK25 Bosch ABS system

Wheels: 18×8 OZ Racing, 225/40-18 Michelin Pilot Sport

Exterior: Extended wheels arches, new front and rear bumpers, side skirts and roof spoiler

Interior: Sparco seats, change-up light, boost gauge

Ford Focus RS Buying Guide

Ford Focus RS Buying guide from Strike Engine. Ford Focus RS Specs, Engines, Exhaust, Gearbox, Clutch, Suspension, Wheels and Tyres, Brakes, Bodywork, Interior, Values and Part and Servicing Prices. information from an article in EVO Magazine (June 2006, written by Roger Green)

See also:
Focus Insurance Specialists
Focus ST Review
Focus RS MK2 Tuning Guide
Ford Focus Tuners
Ford Focus Body Kits
High Performance Car Insurance
Performance Car Specs 0-60, Power to Weight and more


Ford Focus RS Spec Sheet

LayoutFront Engined,
Front Wheel Drive
EngineIn Line 4Cylinder,
1998cc, 16v, Turbo
SuspensionFront: MacPherson
Struts, Coil Springs,
Anti Roll Bars.
Rear: Multi Link, Coil
Springs, Anti Roll Bar
Tyres225/40R18 Michelin
Pilot Sport
Power to Weight169bhp/Ton
Top Speed144mph
Price When New19,995


Ford Focus RS Buying Guide




The Ford Focus RS was released back in 2002 it came with a host of features not found on other Focus models and is capable of a very competent performance on the race track. The steering is gives plenty of feedback and the car displays extremely good body control.

The Focus RS was launched in October of 2002 with Ford stating that they would build 4501 examples. Of this number approximately 3000 came to the UK. The Focus RS models were individually numbered but the last cars, from 2500 onwards,were not always numbered in sequence.


The Focus RS was only available in one colour, Imperial Blue and the RS was not available with any extra options.

However there are two phases of Focus RS the “Phase 2” cars had additional stitching at the base of the front seats to prevent them sagging (this can be added retrospectively by a Ford Dealer) a pink grommet on the throttle cable (which reduces vibration), engine start written around the starter button and the removal of the dimmer on the clock.

More importantly the Phase 2 cars came with an updated dated engine map. The first map being called AE, the more recent, AF. The new map improved fuel economy, drivability and starting.  Ford dealers are able to upgrade the early cars to the more recent map but we don’t know of the costs involved. When buying a Ford Focus RS be sure that you ask the seller if this map upgrade has been carried out.

Ford states that the “minimum” power output of the 2 litre power unit to be at least 212bhp with some owners finding outputs to be as much as 230bhp.


Check Points

History is important with the Focus RS as with all high performance cars. In addition to an up to date servicebook it is important to find out how the car has been used. Cars which have been used regularly for track work will obviously feel more sloppy than examples which have been used as second cars. The latter situation being the ideal car to buy. The good news with the Focus RS is that they are very reliable cars with very little going wrong with them.


Focus RS – Engines

The engine in the Ford Focus RS is badged as a Duratec although the engine is actually a Zetec E unit as found elsewhere in the Ford Focus range.  The engine is strong with no failures being recorded on unmodified examples and the same can be said for the Garrett GT 2560 SG turbo. Due to the engines tunability there are a large number of modified cars on the road, with the standard engine internals and turbo being able to cope with up to 280bhp. The Superchips Bluefin is a popular route for “chipping” the Focus RS with may owners also fitting performance air filters,induction kits, tubular exhaust manifolds, performance exhaust systems, upgraded turbos, larger intercoolers and charge coolers. There are some RSs quoting a power figure of 400bhp. Theseengines are no longer made by Ford so care should be taken not to damage the engine, with a new turbo coming in at 1000 pounds. Like all Ford Zetec engines, they are very sensitive to the engine oil that is used, the recommended oil is 10w30 semi synthetic or for hard driving and track days/track use 10w40 fully synthetic. Coolant leaks are common in particular around the thermostat housing and this indicted by pink stains. Some owners have found the bonnet lining coming away from the skin.

Focus RS – Exhaust

The Ford Focus RS comes as standard with a big bore stainless steel system and from the cat back it hasn’t caused any problems, although quite a few owners have fitted an aftermarket performance exhaust system to make the engine more vocal and to release a few extra horses. Milltek and Mongoose performance exhaust systems are a popular choice, which are also lighter than the standard system, at least in the case of the Milltek sport system. The cat can be problematic especially if an atmospheric dump valve is installed as this richens the Air/Fuel ratio with the unburnt fuel entering the cat. Ford charge over 800 pounds for a new cat but an aftermarket sports cat can be bought for approx 450pounds or a de cat pipe can be fitted for 160 pounds. Although a cat will need to be fitted for the MOT, the de cat pipe gives a noticeable power increase.

Focus RS – Gearbox and Clutch

The gearbox has not displayed any inherent weakness and has been found to be tough and reliable. Basically its the same MTX-75 5 speed unit as found in the rest of the Ford Focus range. However the internals have been uprated with shot peening and the gear ratios have been changed along with the gasket for the bell housing. A few high mileage gearboxes have had first or reverse selection problems but this has usually be tracked down to poor gear selector adjustment or the gearbox being over filled with oil. The clutch is constructed by AP Racing and feels quite heavy to use but should last 40,000 miles if not abused.

Focus RS – Suspension

The wheel track on the Focus RS is the same as that found on the Focus WRC car. The Focus RS has increased negative camber and an 18mm roll bar is used in conjunction with Sachs racingdampers. Despite the stresses subjected on the suspension it copes with all but the most extreme situations. The bushes wear out faster than you might expect and this is noticeable as “knocks” over bumpy surfaces.


Focus RS – Wheels and Tyres

The Ford Focus RS comes with lightweight OZ Racing 5 spoke wheels and due to the widened track it is common to find kerb damage to the wheel rim. Look for poor quality repair work to kerbing damage. The tyre size found on the Focus RS is 225/40 R18 with the standard brand being Michelin Pilot Sport, these tyres are no longer available as they has been superseded by the Micheline Pilot Sport 2. The tyres can take a lot of punishment if the car is driven hard and therefore can wear out quickly, fortunately 225/40-18 is a common size so tyres are reasonably cheap Black Circles list tyres from 70-160 pound a corner mail order.

As a weight saving measure the Focus RS does not come with a spare wheel, instead there should be a polystyrene blank where the spare wheel usually is with a recess for a Ford tyre foam puncture repair kit.

Focus RS – Brakes

On the front the Focus RS uses Brembo 4 pot calipers with 324mm diameter with the rear using the Focus ST170 set up. Pads can wear out quickly if the car is driven hard but the brake pads are not massively expensive.  As aftermarket performance brake pads can be fitted for less than the Ford replacements most people choose to upgrade, with the Ferodo DS2500 being a popular compound costing approx 100 pounds for a front axle set. Cars used regularly on track days use uprated brake fluid but for day to day use the Ford brake fluid is more than adequate.  A big brake upgrade kit is available for the Focus RS from AP Racing and this uses 6 pot calipers and floating discs.

Focus RS – Bodywork

The Focus RS has a front splitter mounted to the bottom of the front bumper which can easily be damaged on kerbs and bumps. A replacement is 300 pounds from Ford.  The paint work on the RS is quite soft so is vulnerable to stone chips so its not uncommon to find re spray work being carried out on examples with over 20,000 miles.  The rear wheel arches came with a plastic film cover to protect from stone chips although this can become quite tatty over time, some owners decide to remove it completely although replacement film is available from Ford for 50 pounds.


Focus RS – Interior

The dash and carpets are the same as found on any other Ford Focus. The seats however are upgraded to black suede and leather Sparco items which are comfortable and supportive. The Focus RS came with RS branded floor mats so these should be present on the car you are looking at and so should the leather case for the owners manual. Like all Focus cars the interior should be solid with no rattles or creaks. The CD changer can, if faulty, drain the battery in a few days but Ford can rectify this free of charge.

Focus RS – Values

Some examples can be found for sale at 12,500 but these are usually unloved, good examples start at 14,000 and go up to 17,500 for a low mileage last of the line example.

Focus RS Part Prices

Brake Disc – Front (each)170
Brake Disc – Rear (each)52
Brake Pads – Front (pair)153
Brake Pads  – Rear (pair)60
Clutch Kit427
Starter Motor (exchange)195
Air Filter40
Oil Filter6
Headlight Unit109
Front Bumper451
Front Wing274

Servicing Costs

12,000 miles150
24,000 miles175
36,000 miles220

Focus RS – Insurance

Driver A Insurance: 30 year old advertising exec living and working in Bracknell. Full NCB 3 points for speeding, car garaged, 10,000 miles a year.

Drivers B: 55 year old lawyer living in Nottingham, Full NCB, clean licence, car garaged, 10,000 miles a year.

Driver A insurance quote: 403
Driver B insurance quote: 297

(Based on a standard 2003 Ford Focus insurance quote from the AA).

Ford Focus RS Used Car Adverts



Ford Focus Links

Ford Focus RS Insurance
Ford Focus RS Tuners
Track Days
Ford Focus Owners Club
RS Owners Club
Modified Car Insurance


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This page was last modified Jun 24, 2018 @ 6:10 pm

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