The gentleman over at Auto Express got the BMW M2 on the track along with the Ford Focus RS.
Ford’s $36,000 RS is based on an all wheel drive system that Ford proclaims feels like rear-wheel drive and can easily be pushed into controllable oversteer. Meanwhile, the BMW M2 which starts at $52,000 is strictly rear-wheel drive and is not a family hauler.
The Focus RS is Ford’s first all-wheel-drive sports car since the Ford Escort Cosworth in the 1990s, and with torque vectoring it gives rear-wheel-drive thrills by driving the outside rear wheel through a corner to get the car pivoting. James Disdale describes the drift mode as “artificial” because the front axle begins to pull the car straight out of the slide (when you want it to) so it doesn’t take much skill to perform as throttle and steering inputs don’t do much. Another big issue with the drift mode is that you need a large space to use, unlike the M2 in which you can apply throttle to kick the tail out anytime.
Unlike the Focus RS which has plenty of driving modes and settings, the BMW keeps it simple, with 3 options: Comfort, Sport and Sport+ (which reduces nannies and allows some more slip).
Even with a $16,000 price difference and 7-speed DCT in the M2, the BMW was only faster than the RS by 1/10th of a second, that may be due to the brakes being a little more precise on the RS.
What the BMW lacks in brake feel, it makes up for with the engine note. The 3.0liter 6-cylinder turbo still sounds aggressive and powerful, while the 2.3L 4-cylinder in the Ford puts out a synthetic note.
Regardless of which one is faster and sounds better, they are both very fun cars and impressive in their own rights.