In case you missed the hint, £31,000 is very reasonable for the sort of trick product Ford has delivered. When Audi re-engineered the A1 to take the S-badged car’s driven rear axle, it raised the price of the car by a fifth; here, the jump from top-spec Focus ST is far more reasonable, despite the RS being hugely more capable.
The cars most buyers would cite as rivals – Mercedes-AMG A45, Audi RS3 – are, at best, £10k more expensive, while the Volkswagen Golf R, which is the closest rival in many respects, starts at £31,125.
Mechanically, there are no options that make a notable difference to the price of the RS. But we would suggest opting for the sportiest seats and uprated stereo/nav in the interest of bolstering the resale value; otherwise, fill your boots.
The Golf R does possibly make more sense in associated running costs. In our hands, the 2.3-litre Ecoboost proved to be, at times, colossally thirsty. We recorded an overall average (based on the trip computer) of just 19.1mpg, with a touring result of 27.4mpg.
The VW, tested in much the same way, managed 28.7mpg and 33.7mpg respectively.
Under less strenuous and slightly more scientific True MPG examination, the Focus held up better, recording a much more respectable 29.7mpg, but we’d be inclined to suggest that you put that figure at the far end of your expectations.
The RS’s CO2 emissions, at 175g/km, are decent enough, considering the power output and the fact that the car is handicapped by manual gear ratios.