Performance Fords and aftermarket tuning are such natural companions that it’s hard to be sure where one ends and the other begins. In the case of Mountune, a kind of semi-official tuning arm to Ford in the UK, the line is even blurrier. What’s clear, though, is that the new Focus RS is ripe for modification.
In the same way that the Nissan GT-R spawned its very own tuning industry, the Focus RS is certain to become the darling of tuning companies across Britain and beyond. Many will surely be tempted into chasing vast power increases, the car’s all-wheel-drive system finally unshackling them from the limitations of a front-wheel-drive configuration.
Mountune has taken a more restrained approach. Rather than pursuing headline figures, the Essex-based outfit has focused on reliable power increases that are consistent in all ambient conditions. Its M375 upgrade, which is endorsed by Ford and does not affect the manufacturer warranty, includes an ECU remap with an upgraded intercooler and rear exhaust silencer for c$2000.
Mountune quotes 276kW and 510Nm for the kit, which equates to gains over the standard car of 19kW and 40Nm. Dig a little deeper, though, and Mountune will admit those power and torque figures are somewhat conservative.
For those who want a little more, there’s the M380 upgrade, which includes a revised ECU map and Mountune’s m Tune handset. This device allows you to switch maps and adjust the volume and character of the exhaust, and includes other features such as data-logging, performance timing and an ‘anti-theft’ mode. The kit, which isn’t Ford-endorsed, costs c$2900 and lifts power to 280kW and torque to 530Nm.
This demo car also runs 19-inch OZ Racing wheels (around $1000 per corner), grooved brake discs, an uprated intercooler, a new axle-back exhaust, exterior graphics, a Mountune leather gearlever gaiter and branded floor mats. The company will soon also offer a Quaife limited-slip differential to replace the standard, open item in the front axle, and for those owners who want to achieve really significant power increases, Mountune also markets a strengthened gearbox rated to 375kW, for around $1011. There’s a tinny, raspy quality to the engine note that immediately distinguishes this upgraded car from the factory-specification version.
Rather than add noise and aural drama for the sake of it, though, Mountune actually deletes the exhaust pops and cracks in Normal mode to make the car feel more civilised. From Sport mode onwards, meanwhile, the reports from the exhaust are completely natural rather than being engineered-in, as they are on the standard car.
One of our main criticisms of the base car is the lack of energy and vibrancy in the 2.3-litre engine as it nears the redline. Whereas the best turbocharged performance engines find another surge over the final 100Orpm, as standard the RS’s unit starts to fade at 600Orpm then limply nudges into the limiter. The upgraded Mountune engine isn’t a night-and-day improvement, but it does feel more energetic.
In terms of acceleration, the Mountune car does have a slight edge over the stock model, but you’d need to drive them back-to-back and perhaps consult a stopwatch to really appreciate the gains. Mountune quotes a sub-4.5sec 0-100km/h time for the M380.
By comparison, the best time we’ve recorded in the standard car is 4.7 seconds. Countless tuners will be working on big-power modifications for the Focus RS as you read this, but for now this is a mature, high-quality upgrade that makes one of today’s hottest hatches even hotter.
Mountune Focus RS M380