Sierra RS Cosworth
As with all the best fast Fords, the Sierra RS Cosworth exists because blue oval bosses wanted to go racing.
Could there really be any other winner of this test? It was the first Ford to wear the famous Cosworth badge, and it mixed supercar performance with family car practicality.
As with all the best fast Fords, the RS exists because blue oval bosses wanted to go racing.
The result is one of the most legendary performance cars of all-time. On the track, it notched up the World Touring Car Championship title in 1987, the European series in 1988, while also triumphing in the BTCC and taking multiple rally victories. On appearance alone, the RS Cosworth would have assured its place in history. A deep front bumper, neat bonnet vents and huge rear spoiler have been copied countless times since the original Cossie’s invention. The looks aren’t deceptive. The turbocharged 2.0-litre engine pushed out 204bhp, which increased to 224bhp in the limited-run RS500 evolution model.
Even today, the Sierra feels blisteringly quick. Acceleration in the mid-range is superb, and the RS makes light work of overtaking slower traffic.
It’s great fun through challenging corners, too. The steering is light but direct and there’s plenty of grip, although the rear-wheel-drive chassis demands respect in slippery conditions.
Quick, practical, versatile and great fun to drive, the Sierra RS Cosworth is everything a seriously fast Ford should be.
* Performance: 4/5 * Heritage: 5/5 * Style: 5/5 * Driver appeal: 5/5
Model tested: Sierra RS CosworthChart position: 1
In this review
- 1IntroductionThe Blue Oval’s performance hits From 1963-2009.
- 2New Focus RSThe latest – and possibly greatest? – addition to the blue oval’s stable.
- 31st Sierra RS Cosworth - currently readingAs with all the best fast Fords, the Sierra RS Cosworth exists because blue oval bosses wanted to go racing.
- 42nd Escort RS CosworthIf our top fast Fords were picked on visual impact alone, then the Escort RS Cosworth would be a clear winner. With its bulging wheelarches, aggressive nose and wild rear wing, it looks like nothing else on the road.
- 53rd GTIntroduced to celebrate the blue oval’s 100th birthday, the GT has the performance, power and looks to take on exotic rivals from Ferrari and Lamborghini.
- 64th GT40The sunning GT40 took Le Mans victory spoils four times between 1966 and 1969 – and racing pedigrees don’t come much better than that.
- 75th RS200Jaw-dropping styling, fearsome performance and rarity – the RS200 has it all.
- 86th Escort RS1600To the casual observer it might appear to be a humble entry-level model, but the plain looks hide thoroughbred racing mechanicals.
- 97th Escort MexicoWith racy looks, a lightly tweaked engine and a family-friendly saloon body, the Escort Mexico served up a winning blend of performance and practicality.
- 108th Lotus CortinaFor many fans, this is the first fast Ford. With its powerful engine, motorsport pedigree and affordable pricing, it set the template for the blue oval’s future high-performance models.
- 119th Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4It looks like a sober-suited saloon, but beneath this four-door Sierra Sapphire’s low-key lines lurks supercar-rivalling performance.
- 1210th Racing PumaWith bulging aluminium wheelarches, a deep front spoiler and 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels, the Racing version is certainly a head turner.
- 1311th Focus RSWith looks inspired by the firm’s World Rally Championship contenders, the RS is a real head-turner.
- 1412th Capri 2.8iBilled as the car you always promised yourself, the rakish coupé was a sales hit the minute it was launched in 1969.
- 1513th Escort RS2000 MkVShocked to see the MkV Escort RS2000 finish so high up the order? Well, you shouldn’t be – this is a fast Ford through to its very core.
- 1614th Focus STWhen it was unveiled in 2005, the ST was an enormous leap forward from its slightly underwhelming predecessor, the ST170.
- 1715th Escort XR3iThis Escort’s mix of sporty looks, bargain price and eager performance made it a hot hatch hit with British motorists during the Eighties.
- 1816th SportkaIntroduced in 2003, the Sportka is the spiritual successor to the original Fiesta XR2.
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- 2119th Escort RS2000Despite its RS badges, this model was never intended to enter the heat of competition. It looked like a road racer, though.
- 2220th Escort RS TurboThe famous RS badge is fitted only to the quickest, most driver-focused Fords – and the Escort RS Turbo is no exception.
- 2321st Focus ST170It lacks the raw, hard-edged thrills of the turbocharged Focus RS, but the ST170 is still entertaining.
- 2422nd Fiesta XR2 MkIIWhen bosses finally revealed the XR2 in 1981, it became an instant hit with boy racers – and it certainly looked the part.
- 2523rd Sierra XR4x4The all-wheel-drive Sierra XR4x4 was designed to be a practical sports car for all seasons.
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