It might not have the bragging rights of a six-cylinder, big-capacity engine anymore, but the R lacks absolutely nothing in performance. Actually, its delivery is relentless, with 258lb.ft making itself felt from the depths of the rev counter before the turbo properly kicks in about half way up, surging the car forward with brutal tenacity and a lovely four-cylinder fizz. Every high-rev gearchange is rewarded with a boom-like cough from the tailpipes too.
But when it comes to putting its power down, there’s just so little drama. It’s quicker than the Focus RS – and feels it too – yet where the Focus demands a gentle arm wrestle to wring the most from it, the R stays as straight and true as a National Geographic documentary, no matter how you mistreat the throttle. What’s so exceptional about it, though, is that there’s still a fluidity and poise about the way it changes direction. During second gear corners you can feel the four-wheel drive’s brain directing traction to the wheels that need it, pulling the car around, yet it does that while allowing you the sense that you’re still in control. It really is phenomenally rapid, but despite its unfussy power delivery and clinical four-wheel drive traction it’s surprisingly interactive.
Source: Car Enthusiast