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Ford Focus RS vs BMW M135i

The scorchingly fast new Focus RS battles it out with BMW's hot hatch king to determine who rules the class

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Our Verdict

Either one of these hot hatches will do any keen driver proud; both are huge fun, albeit for different reasons. The hardcore Focus RS has much higher handling limits and can devour twisting country roads at an incredible rate. For that alone, it’s an absolute bargain. The softer, less highly strung M135i can’t quite keep up through the corners, but offers the more engaging experience at road speeds. Aided by a strong, characterful engine, it delivers that bit more fun, more of the time.

1st – BMW 1 Series M135i

For More characterful engine; fun handling; ride quality; huge discounts

Against Slower point-to-point; higher emissions; motorway composure

Verdict Sports car driving thrills meet polished hatchback practicality

Read the full BMW 1 Series review


2nd – Ford Focus RS

For Incredible cornering; stunning all-weather ability; slower depreciation

Against Firm ride; cut-price interior materials; limited boot space

Verdict Hardcore bargain offers remarkable performance

Read the full Ford Focus RS review


Specifications: BMW 1 Series M135i

Engine size 3.0-litre, petrol, turbocharged

List price Β£32,010

Target Price Β£28,069

Power 322bhp

Torque 332lb ft

0-60mph 5.8sec

Top speed 155mph

Fuel economy 35.3mpg (Average Gov't)

CO2 emissions 188g/km


Specifications: Ford Focus RS

Engine size 2.3-litre, petrol, turbocharged

Price from Β£31,000

Target Price Β£31,000

Power 345bhp

Torque 347lb ft

0-60mph 5.2sec

Top speed 165mph

Fuel economy 29.7mpg (True MPG)

CO2 emissions 175g/km


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