Ford Focus RS

The new Focus RS, has a turbo-charged 2.5-litre engine, a roof spoiler and 19-inch wheels set to liberate the Eighties boy in you
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Indy Lifestyle Online

When I was 17 the love of my life was a girl called Tracy and my best friend was a boy called Darren. All that was missing from this vivid Eighties tableau was a red Ford Fiesta XR2i with stickers, but even with dubious Flock of Seagulls hair and stonewashed jeans I knew that a "performance Ford" was not the motor for me.

I had never lusted after a Capri (not even Terry McCann's white MKII), thought RS Escorts were for oiks, and the Probe and Cougar that followed were hardly likely to win me over either. Soon after, a strangely compelling man with Bonnie Tyler hair and an arse too large for his Levi's started appearing on TV boasting about his Escort Cosworth with the tea-tray spoiler, which was just about the final coffin nail as far as I was concerned.

Then, a few years back, I tried the then-new Focus RS and, finally, I "got" the performance Ford. Though it still looked to me like something put together after a Halford's trolley dash, the RS was a blast to drive. In any other car, torque steer as shocking as the RS's would have been cause for concern, but like Amy's Blake, though clearly a wrong 'un, the RS had a thuggish charm.

Even as I wrestled with the steering wheel, to stop it veering across the broken white line, I had a smile on my face and, since Tracy left, there have been all too few of those.

So I was thrilled to see a new RS, so long rumoured, is finally to be unveiled at this month's London Motor Show. Ford promises the new Focus RS is much more than a slightly titivated ST. It has the old Volvo five-cylinder, 2.5-litre turbo-charged engine, but with that giant handlebar moustache-style front, roof spoiler, 19-inch wheels, deep side skirts and Rafael Nadal-style bulges the two are never likely to be mistaken. It is tuned to give 295bhp too. And, get this: it will apparently "do" 155mph.

Now, I can remember all those years ago as I watched Darren steal Tracy from under my nose with his dad's XR4i and gold Diadora trainers while I spent night after night trying to coax my tragic Bond Equipe into life, asking myself: was the democratisation of speed such a good thing?

Back then, the answer was no. Today, the answer is no even more so. (I mean, come on, 155mph!) But, I can tell you this, I can't wait to try it, and my first stop will be Darren's house.

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