Last month the RS had its first ever oil change, and with fresh fluids and the PCM updated to the latest version the feisty Focus was ready for action once again. And my first port of call was legendary Ford tuners, mountune. Back at the tail end of last summer I was lucky enough to test drive their M380 demo car – I loved the car so much that I immediately had the M380 package fitted to my RS! But one other thing that I loved about that demo car was the axle-back exhaust upgrade it sported. Ever since I’ve been waiting to get one fitted to my own car, and now I have!
On start up it immediately sounds angry – like you’ve just punched a sleeping bear in the face! It growls and sneers, and sounds bloody aggressive! Perfect for an RS – if I’d have wanted a softly-softly daily commuter I would have bought a Titanium model! Even in Normal mode the RS sounds more aggressive with the axle-back installed, giving a nice bark when you blip the throttle and more of those infamous pops and snaps on lift-off too.
But flick the RS into Sport mode and the axle-back really comes alive – especially with the revised ‘M380 + exhaust’ calibration installed! Immediately the growl at tickover intensifies! Now it sounds like that bear you punched in the face has just caught you sleeping with his missus too! Give the throttle a blip and the whole thing crackles and bangs like a tuned fast Ford should!
Out on the road the driving experience is completely altered – you can’t help but try and provoke the loudest pops and bangs possible. If you’ve driven the standard car and think that’s good in Sport mode, you need to try one with the axle-back fitted; it gives the RS a whole other dimension!
But popping and banging, and roaring and barking are all very well on a Sunday afternoon B-road blast, but they’re not quite so welcome on a Monday morning commute. Watching all the kids (and parents) duck because they think they’ve just heard a shotgun being fired as you drive past their school isn’t really going to endear you to your neighbours.
And, for me, that’s the best thing about mountune’s axle-back upgrade; it can make the car sound like a rip-snorting, aggressive, monster when I want it to, but when I drop it back into Normal mode and plod along in everyday traffic the car behaves like an OE model.
Call me greedy, but I want to be able to use my £30k car as much as possible, and I don’t want a stupidly loud exhaust system that’s embarrassing to use around town, scares pedestrians, or generally makes me look a bit of a knob. And thanks to some clever engineering by the boffins at mountune, that’s exactly what the axle-back allows me to do.
Furthermore it doesn’t drone! At all. Not ever. Mountune say they have spent a lot of time and cash developing a system that doesn’t drone or boom at motorway speeds, and whatever they have done has worked! You can sit at 70mph-ish (90mph-plus!) and have a conversation with the person next to you without even raising your voice. In the past I’ve had cars with exhausts so droney and boomy that they are practically unusable on anything other than a short sprint to the shops, but the axle-back from mountune is really refined. It’s got a nice distant grumble to let you know you’re driving an RS, but it also means you can use the car in comfort for long distance cruising just as much as you can enjoy chucking it around a race track.
In case you can’t tell already, I absolutely love what mountune’s axle-back exhaust has done for my RS. Yes some may say that at £1050 it’s expensive, but trust me it’s worth it! It retains the original center-section of the exhaust, with those complicated OE pyramid-flats to ensure the exhaust clears everything, and is significantly lighter than the OE silencer too. And don’t forget that it’s the only exhaust that doesn’t affect the base warranty, and it comes complete with a new valve and motor assembly too!
Plus if, like me, you find it difficult parting with large sums of cash, you can take advantage of mountune’s finance options! It doesn’t matter how you pay for it really, just make sure you get one on your RS as I guarantee you’ll love it as much as I do!
Here it for yourselves…