2016 Ford Focus RS
2015 Subaru WRX STI
2.3-Liter Turbo-Four Engine 2.5-Liter Turbo-Four
345 Horsepower 305
Torque-Vectoring AWD Drive System Torque-Vectoring AWD
Yes Drift Mode No

2016 Ford Focus RS vs 2015 Subaru WRX STI


For a number of years, Ford enthusiasts in the states have been begging for the Focus RS, and next spring, they will finally get what they want. The performance hatchback is finally getting a U.S. release date, and as expected, it’s already being compared to the vehicles that Ford has set out to take down with the new RS. The Golf GTI and the WRX STI are bound to be two of its biggest competitors, but to show you how the all-new Focus RS will be able to dominate the competition, we thought it would be interesting to compare its capabilities to its similarly-equipped competitors. Let’s look at the 2016 Ford Focus RS vs 2015 Subaru WRX STI.

It all starts with the engines. Beneath the hood of the Ford Focus RS is the same 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the all-new Mustang. The official output has yet to be announced, but as the RS is slightly smaller, it will have no problem exceeding the 315-horsepower output that the Mustang is capable of. That also means that the RS will produce a bit more twist than the 300 lb-ft achieved by the pony car.

Read More: 5 Things You Need to Know About the 2017 Ford Focus RS

Despite the fact that the WRX STI has a slightly larger engine, it’s not able to produce quite as much in the power department. That’s not to say that its weak by any means. It’s just now quite as capable as the Focus RS. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which also comes turbocharged, has the ability to produce as much as 305 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of twist. Again, the output of the STI is impressive, but with far less torque, the all-wheel drive system doesn’t have quite as much to play with.

Advantages of the Focus RS Over the WRX STI

You’ll notice from the table that we have provided that both the Focus RS and WRX STI come standard with a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system. There are, however, a few key differences between the systems. For one, as we said, with less torque to play with in the Subaru offering, twist to the axles isn’t quite as extreme, which means that the RS will likely beat the WRX STI off the line. Another key difference is that while the STI is only able to direct 65 percent of torque to the rear axle, the RS is able to ship 70 percent to the back, and once there, the Focus can direct all of it to either one of the rear wheels.

Another one of the biggest differences between the all-wheel drive systems is that the Focus RS will be offered with a one-of-a-kind Drift Mode, which will allow amateur drivers with assistance on those tight corners. The system monitors the spin of the vehicle and keeps it from over-rotating. If it senses that the driver is ahead of the car, more spin can be achieved, but if the steering is lagging, the issue is corrected automatically. For all of the professionals out there, the Drift Mode can be turned off at any point.

With a closer look at the 2016 Ford Focus RS and the 2015 Subaru WRX STI, it’s quite clear to see which of the compact performance cars offers the more impressive capabilities. If you want to experience the torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system for yourself to see how it really compares, you’ll have to wait until next year, as the Focus RS won’t hit the U.S. market until Spring of 2016. We cannot wait.