The Ford Focus RS, with its 350 horsepower and infamous drift mode, has garnered a reputation for being fast, but also as a means to unlock the inner adolescent in those who like horsepower. Having perennial tyre slayer Ken Block as a Focus figurehead certainly adds fuel – or burnt rubber in this case – to the mix. Yes, the Focus RS can be properly quick on a track, but it’s that polarising drift mode that people keep coming back to. Some think it’s neat, while others see it purely as a low-brow gimmick.
After reading Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers’ recent comments on the subject during the New York Auto Show, we suspect he might fall into that latter category. According to Motoring, Moers had a bit of trash talk for Ford’s all-wheel drive, rally-bred hot hatch while in New York for the show.
“I know the Focus RS. It’s okay, but it’s not drift mode. You can do donuts in that mode, but drifting on a race track – it’s not possible” he said.
The sass is surely related to AMG’s own hot-hatch, the A45, of which a new version is expected for next year with 400 horsepower. The current A45 AMG isn’t exactly a slouch; its 2.0-litre four-cylinder it turbocharged to within an inch of its life to make 381 horsepower, routed through an all-wheel drive system. It’s currently the most powerful four-cylinder passenger car in the world, and it seems Moers intends to keep it that way.
With 400 horsepower, the forthcoming A45 AMG should certainly be capable of atomising tires at will, even with its revised all-wheel drive platform. Despite the RS criticism, Motoring says Moers was “non-committal” on the high-performance hatchback having specific modes of its own that are dedicated to getting sideways. Whether that means Mercedes will help A45 pilots have a bit more fun is unclear, but with Audi’s new RS3 hatchback packing 400 horsepower, such features could give buyers an incentive to buy AMG. We shall see.