Escort RS Cosworth

If 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.

If 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.

Designed to blast through rally stages and meet Group A regulations, this pumped-up homologation special had little in common with the standard Escort that topped the sales charts during the early Nineties. In fact, the muscular makeover hid a shortened Sierra RS Cosworth platform, together with that car’s powerful engine, plus four-wheel drive.

The outrageous looks aren’t just for show – the combination of wings, spoilers and scoops gives the Cossie genuine aerodynamic downforce at high speeds.

And the Escort was fast! In 1993 – its debut rally season – the car notched up five victories, an incredible achievement for a new design.

The RS was equally effective on the road, and it easily matches more modern competition. Performance from the gruff 227bhp 2.0-litre motor is explosive, despite the turbo lag. But it’s the RS Cosworth’s chassis that shines the brightest. The steering is sharp and provides plenty of feedback, while its rally car roots give it strong grip and incredible agility.

If the forthcoming Focus RS is half as good as the RS Cosworth, then Ford fans are in for a treat.

* Performance: 4/5 * Heritage: 4/5 * Style: 5/5 * Driver appeal:5/5

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Details

Model tested: Escort RS CosworthChart position: 2

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