By now, it’s well understood that the outdated notion that “there’s no replacement for displacement” is false. The turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder that powers the Mk. III Ford Focus RS makes 350 horsepower – more than the Mustang GT made a decade ago with twice the cylinders, and twice the displacement.
Of course, while turbocharged small engines have become more advanced, so have normally-aspirated V8s. The 6.2-liter LT1 in the current Chevrolet Camaro SS, for instance, produces a commendable 455 horsepower, despite its rather antiquated pushrod valvetrain.
But ultimately, which car is faster around a track: the Ford Focus RS, or the Chevrolet Camaro SS? Motorsport Magazine tested the Focus RS last October on the Magny-Cours Club test track. This month, it was the turn of the Camaro.
We won’t try to build drama, or tell you to “watch for yourself and find out.” The Camaro wins. However, the gap in the two cars’ lap times is incredibly slim, the Focus RS achieving a time of 1 minute, 24.58 seconds, while the Camaro SS drives the same course in 1 minute, 24.50 seconds. Less than one-tenth of a second separates the two sportscars.
Not too shabby, four-cylinder.
You can watch the Camaro SS’ full lap in the video above, and the Focus RS’ lap is embedded below.