Yes, this duel again. Ever since these two cars have debuted, they’ve been duking it out to see which is the best affordable sports car on the market. The BMW M2 and Ford Focus RS are very different cars from very different companies and are at very different price points, but they both offer a similar driving concept — they’re both fast, fun, small cars that can be driven every day.
To see which is best, CNET’s Roadshow team, which consists of journalists Emme Hall and Alex Goy in this case, took both cars to Gingerman Raceway in Michigan for a high-speed battle.
The BMW M2 is up first and its charms are already well known. Its small size, punchy turbocharged 3.0 liter I6 engine, 365 hp and rear-wheel drive make it a hoot to drive. It’s old-school BMW with a modern twist and it’s been getting high praise wherever it goes.
What they liked about the M2 was that it’s also refined as well as being fun to drive. Its interior is of high quality and its back seats are actually usable, if a bit tough to get in and out of. But when you want to push it, you can really toss the M2 around.
But the Ford Focus RS isn’t so bad itself. With a 350 hp 2.3 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive, the Focus RS is a riot. Its steering is sharp and its grip is tenacious, making it almost a bit too easy to drive quickly at Gingerman. Engage “Drift Mode” (am I the only one sick of these “Drift” and “Burnout” modes, can’t people just drive on their own?) and it will allow you to easily hold a slide for as long as you want/need.
Its interior isn’t as premium as the M2’s, but it’s also considerably cheaper. With a starting price of $36,995, the Focus RS is far easier on the wallet than the $51,700 BMW M2. That can make it far more attractive to young car enthusiasts.
So does the low price of the Focus RS make it the more attractive performance package? Roadshow seems to think not. Despite the higher price tag, the BMW M2 offers a better driving experience with a more premium cabin and feel. So Roadshow feels that the M2 is the better car and worth the extra cost.[Souce: CNET Roadshow]