Both the BMW M2 and Ford Focus RS have been put to the test against each other numerous times in the few months that both cars have existed. The reasoning behind their comparison lies purely in their shared ability to provide nearly permanent grins on the faces of their drivers. However, aside from that, they’re two incredibly different cars. But for this review, add another very different, but equally fun, car.
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Automobile Magazine recently had the opportunity to test three of this year’s hottest performance cars against each other on a long drive through Germany. The BMW M2 and Ford Focus RS are the usual suspects in this test but the newcomer is the Porsche 718 Boxster S. So let’s see how they compare.
The Porsche 718 Boxster S, named as such to honor the race car of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, packs an all-new 350 hp 2.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mounted in the middle, a PDK seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (In this case, but a six-speed manual is available) and rear-wheel drive. This compares to the Ford Focus RS’ 350 hp 2.3 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pairs with a six-speed manual and powers all four wheels. However, it’s the BMW that packs the most grunt, with its 365 hp 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine, seven-speed DCT and rear-wheel drive.
In terms of performance, both the Porsche and BMW seem to be neck and neck, with both taking 4.2 seconds to get from 0-60 mph and, but the Porsche 718 Boxster S has a higher electronically-limited top speed of 177 mph, compared to the BMW M2’s 155 mph. The Ford Focus is the slowest car of the bunch, with a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds, which you can thank the manual transmission for, but has a higher top speed than the Bimmer of 165 mph. BMW really needs to up that limiter.
The reason Automobile brought these three cars together is that they’re all honest sports cars whose entire goals are to put big smiles on faces and they all succeed in doing that, just in very different ways. The Porsche 718 Boxster S is deemed to be the best car of the bunch. It’s just as fast as the Bimmer to 60 mph, but can outrun its top speed, it has the best steering of the group and the most comfortable ride. So it’s said to be the best of all worlds. Sure, its interior has some ergonomic issues and it’s the most expensive car in the test, but apparently it’s worth the money. But the plucky little Bimmer is close.
BMW’s new M2 comes in second place, as it’s a superb driver’s car with meaty steering and the smoothest engine of the three. It’s also probably capable of being faster than the Boxster, because we’ve seen people get as low as 4.0 second 0-60 mph times out of a DCT-equipped BMW M2. It also has a back seat and a bigger trunk than the Boxster, so it’s better for everyday. Overall, Automobile deemed the M2 as the true successor to the E46 BMW M3 and just gets edged out by the scalpel sharp Porsche.
While the Ford Focus RS is a great driver’s car at an affordable price, it just doesn’t match the power, performance or precision of the other two cars. While it’s great fun to drive, especially in tight nippy turns, it’s just too twitchy and rough everywhere else. Its suspension is very hard and its chassis gets upset very easily which, when combined with super twitchy steering, makes the Focus RS feel nervous instead of confidence-inspiring.
So in the end, the Porsche 718 Boxster S is deemed the best car but the BMW M2 is probably the best all-rounder, as it has the back seat, trunk space and extra cylinders that the Porsche doesn’t. Plus, it’s cheaper. The Ford Focus RS, on the other hand, is a genuinely good sports car, but one that acts more as a bargain sports car and doesn’t have quite the pedigree to compete with the champs just yet.
[Source: Automobile Magazine]