Ford Focus RS SoCal Dyno Video and Analysis

Ford Focus RS on the Dyno at HG Motorsports (Photo Kelly G.)
Ford Focus RS on the Dyno at HG Motorsports (Photo Kelly G.) /

Art of Gears Kelly G. performs one of the first customer delivered Dynos on his stock 2016 Ford Focus RS, to see just how much HP this hot-hatch is putting out.

This is it; the moment of truth; the Baseline Dyno Day for my new 2016 Ford Focus RS. I woke up about three times last night wondering if I should go through with it. Ask any owner of a new performance vehicle, and they will tell you they have plans of putting their new car on the Dyno before they start modding, but they just never do.

Most people are perfectly happy with the “Butt-Dyno” numbers their car is putting out, and have no desire to have their dreams crushed. The only people that really perform Stock Dyno’s are either big name tuners or car enthusiasts that are truly concerned with their cars stock performance numbers before they start installing aftermarket performance parts.

When Ford Performance announced last year that the new Ford Focus RS would be coming with 350HP and 350 ft/lb of Torque, they grabbed my attention right away. 350 HP from the factory? All that Torque?

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Those are game changing numbers coming from a 4-cylinder engine! But when the first couple of baseline Dyno’s over in Europe showed lower HP numbers than advertised, I really wasn’t too surprised.  All top manufacturers claim big numbers. And I am sure, in the perfect environment, under the most optimum conditions, those numbers are probably accurate.

To be honest, the 350 HP claim by Ford Performance was not the main reason I wanted the car. I was looking for something different out of this vehicle.

Call it the complete package if you want. Is the car fun to drive daily through the streets of SoCal, does it have enough power to tackle the hills up to Big Bear, or comfortable enough for weekend road trips to a UFC fight in Vegas? (more importantly, the drive back!) These were all deciding factors for me.

But I also have no plans of keeping this vehicle stock, either. Which leads me to the reason I put the car on the Dyno in the first place.

RS Dyno
Ford Focus RS (Photo Kelly G.) /

I have had the new Focus RS for about 8 weeks now, and if you read the first impressions review I put out when I first picked up the car, I feel the exact same way about this vehicle. This car really is a fun car to drive.

When my friends at HG Motorsports here in SoCal asked me if I was going to put the new hot hatch on the Dyno, I had to think about it for a second. My “Butt Dyno” feels like 350HP. I can definitely feel the 350 ft/lbs of Torque.

Why put myself through the disappointment if I am wrong? It can be a big hit to your ego to Dyno a stock performance vehicle. But then I started doing a little homework.

You see, I honestly know very little about “turbo” builds. Before owning the Ford Focus RS, I was an “ALL MOTOR” guy. So believe it or not, the Ford Focus RS is actually my first “boosted” build!

Now I don’t claim to be an expert in any way, shape, or form when it comes to vehicle engines. I want to be a better driver and a better-educated car enthusiast. Put me behind the wheel of any car, any day, and I am a happy man.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in learning about the vehicles I drive. As someone who is lucky enough to do this job for a living, I feel it is my duty to start beefing up my knowledge in forced induction engines, and what it takes to get the maximum performance out of these vehicles.

In my opinion, the low Dyno numbers from across the pond just didn’t seem right. Since I followed the same “hard” break-in procedures I do with my N/A vehicles, I was interested to see if my Ford Focus RS would produce HP numbers closer to what Ford Performance advertised.

Focus RS Dyno
Dropping my Focus RS off at HG Motorsports for the Dyno (Photo Kelly G.) /

HG Motorsports is my local tuning shop here in SoCal. When I first walked through the doors of HG about 2 years ago, I knew I had finally found a shop that shares the same passion as I do when it comes to high-end performance vehicles, and the upgrades owners make to take these cars to that next level.

These guys truly eat, breathe, and race high performance. HG Motorsport’s personal connection with their clients is something that cannot be replicated. They truly treat you as part of the family. Whether your car is a $25,000 EcoBoost Mustang, or a $100,000 Mercedes-AMG GT, HG knows that each client that walks through their doors has a unique story to tell, and treats each one of them as equals.

Let’s Check Out The Dyno!

The first Dyno pull on the RS was 292HP! Not too bad for the first pull of the day!

1st Dyno
1st Dyno Pull was 292HP (Photo Kelly G.) /

We were immediately flooded with questions about why we were Dyno’ing the RS in FWD (Front Wheel Drive) when we sent out the initial video of our first Dyno pull on social media.

Here is a quick recap of the explanation of the RS Dyno process from HG Motorsports on YouTube.

"Let me clear up the whole AWD to FWD thing…yes the car is AWD. Our Dyno is an unlinked AWD Dyno. The AWD system in the RS is different than it is in an Evo for example. The rear differential is triggered electronically. The car does have a Dyno mode. For safety reasons, it was recommended that we disengage the rear differential electronically, because even in Dyno mode, with an unlinked Dyno, the 2 rollers wouldn’t be spinning together in unison. If the car were to come out of Dyno mode unexpectedly on an unlinked AWD Dyno, very, very bad things would happen."

Time lapse video of the Dyno Day at HG

We ended up doing a total of 5 Dyno pulls, all resulting in pretty consistent numbers. It was a pretty hot day here in SoCal. On one of the runs, we did see a little heat soak as a result but max HP remained in the 292-298 range.

Run #3 at 298.7 HP/ 342 ft/lb of Torque was the best pull of the day! Those are some pretty impressive numbers from the factory. Since this is wheel HP and not at the crank, I estimate about a 15% loss in HP at the wheel. If we were doing an engine only Dyno like they do from the factory, my new Focus RS 2.3L EcoBoost engine is a little over 343HP! We also only use 91 Octane gas here in SoCal; I think if we had filled the RS up with 93 Octane, we really would be right at 350HP.

So what did I think? Did the Ford Focus RS Dyno Day meet my expectations? I would have to say YES! I kept an open mind when going into the Dyno, and honestly never had any claims or thoughts that the engine was going to be over 350HP.

The HP numbers that my car produced I am perfectly happy with, and I think it is a solid number to build on. With big name tuners like COBB, MOUNTUNE, and LIVERNOIS Motorsports all releasing nice HP gains from tune’s this month, only time will tell how much “usable” Horsepower shops around the country will be able to squeeze out of this new EcoBoost engine.

Next: Will the Apple Car Be Revolutionary or Too Late?

So what upgrades am I going with for my personal build? Stay tuned to see what the Team at HG Motorsports has in store for my new 2016 Ford Focus RS!