All-Wheel-Drive Hot Hatch Drag Race: Ford Focus RS vs. VW Golf R

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Every bit as inevitable as the comparisons between the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI, the all-new Focus RS hot hatch has an obvious and natural German rival, as well: the all-wheel drive Volkswagen Golf R. Setting cornering aside for the moment, which of these two performance hatchbacks delivers more straight-line swiftness to the driver? Evo Magazine decided to stage a drag race in order to find out.

Let’s launch right into the performance numbers. The 2016 Ford Focus RS is rated at around 350 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque, with which it has to propel 3,360 pounds into motion. The Golf R is less potent at 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of peak output, but at about 3,255 pounds, the German hatchback also weighs some 105 pounds less. The power-to-weight ratio is ultimately better in the Focus RS, but the Golf R is within shouting distance.

On paper, it certainly seems like the new Ford Focus RS has the advantage with its higher power output and substantially more torque; in the sprint to 60 miles-per-hour, its quicker by half-of-a-second in Evo‘s hands (4.7 seconds vs. 5.2). But in the end, this is a drag race whose results were largely determined by gear ratios, traction at launch, and other, lesser factors.

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To see who won, be sure to watch the full Evo drag race video above.

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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