Steering Column 19.12.08

Focus on performance

THE FASTEST ever European production car built by Ford will go on sale in March with prices beginning at just under £25,000.

The new Focus RS will be powered by a 2.5-litre, five-cylinder petrol engine that will pump 305PS in power and 440Nm of torque through a six-speed gearbox to the front wheels. It’s enough to whip the car up to 62mph in under six seconds and on up to a top speed of over 160mph.

Anyone who loved the old high-performance Escort Cosworths for their huge, incongruous wing on the back will love the new Focus RS. Along with the ventilated bonnet, airscoop front chin spoiler and dropped side skirts, that huge twin-bladed roof spoiler will make it … er … distinctive on the road.

Subtle it ain’t. The new design around the nose makes it look very purposeful and focused, and under the shade of that big wing the two tail-pipes peep out from a finned tail-pan.

All manner of technogubbins have gone into the car to make sure it grips the road well, stays flat through the corners and brakes securely to a halt.

Indoors it has Recaro sports seats for the front occupants and “Recaro-style” seats in the back. The extras come in package deals that, for extra cost, will add things like climate control, automatic head­lights and wipers, parking sensors, key-free entry and a touchscreen-operated DVD satellite navigation system.

The RS will come above the ST3 version of the Focus as the new king of the heap. Will anyone who is still buying performance cars please form an orderly queue.

Toyota caps residuals

Three large family cars available in Shetland have come out at the top of the latest charts for residual values.

Those wizards and gurus of motoring money matters at CAP say that in the sector Toyota’s Avensis will hold more of its value after three years than the similarly specified Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo.

An Avensis diesel estate will, they say, still be worth 36 per cent of its original purchase price.

The Insignia is close behind with 33 per cent and the Mondeo 31 per cent.

Other versions of the cars are likely to lose marginally more of their value over the same period, but the gaps between the manufacturers stays almost the same … and they all stay in the same order.

Blade holds the edge

Honda’s super quick motorcycle, the CBR1000RR Fireblade, has been named best sports bike over 601cc at this year’s Motor Cycle News awards.

It’s the latest but probably not the last award the bike will get and it’s definitely one of the most respected accolades.

At the award ceremony, Motor Cycle News chief road tester Trevor Franklin is reported as saying: “It doesn’t matter what the road, what the weather or time of day, the ‘blade always puts a smile on my face and a constant stream of adrenaline in my blood.”

He went on to describe the 2008 model as the perfect combination of faultless engine performance and race-track derived chassis.

Mike Grundon


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