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