The Ford Focus RS is no slouch in standard trim, but there are plenty of areas that can be improved…

The standard multi-spoke 19in alloys aren’t that bad and actually suit the Focus’ styling quite well. At 8.5in wide there’s plenty of room for a nice wide tyre too. It’s surprising just how much difference a coat of matt black paint makes to the appearance, and is a damn site cheaper than a set of new rims. However the 5×108 PCD means there are loads of aftermarket alternatives available should you wish to chop them over. As for rubber, fit the best you can afford. Trying to nail all those horses down through the front wheels means that quality tyres are a must.

As with most modern cars the standard brakes are pretty substantial and work well. The large 336x32mm front discs cope with ‘normal’ driving admirably, but as the Focus is a heavy old lump will start to fade if used aggressively or on track. Big brake upgrade kits are available from the usual suspects including AP Racing and Brembo, but are quite costly with prices starting from around £1700 upwards. Uprated pads from the likes of EBC and some braided brake lines usually provide a happy medium for most fast road users.

Thanks to its acclaimed Revo-knuckle suspension the Focus RS handles quite well for a production car. However push it hard and you will soon start to reach the limits and find the car wants to roll and pitch quite badly. The first port of call would be a simple set of lowering springs which actually cures most of the bodyroll, but for more serious drivers and those who embark on the occasional track day a set of coilovers from the likes of KW. H&R or Koni will really transform the way the Focus gets round the bends.

There’s no denying the RS has presence is standard trim, so there’s really no need to muck about with the styling too much. Subtle touches and a sprinkle of carbon fibre is all you’d want to do. There’s no need to replace panels, but parts such as a carbon fibre front grille, spotlight surrounds, and rear diffuser all work well together to give the exterior a bit of a lift, without overdoing it.

You can have a real play under the bonnet of the RS. The standard 300bhp is easily improved upon with the most basic of bolt-on upgrades. There are plenty of tuning packages available which take the power to 350-370bhp and all consist of bolt- on parts such as exhausts, air filters, intercoolers, and ECU remaps. Some companies like Jamsport are pushing the boundaries even further with their demo cars and can offer 400-plus bhp conversions. The only thing to be aware of is that in order to recalibrate the ECU the OE warranty will be invalidated as you cannot currently upload the file via the OBD port. The only kit that doesn’t invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty is the Mountune package.