After months of testing and weeks of hype all over the forums and Facebook pages, REVO’s eagerly-awaited Stage 2 upgrade package for the Mk3 Focus RS is finally here, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a go behind the wheel!
But before that, I also got to have a go in their Stage 1-equipped RS too, so I could feel the difference the first power upgrade makes, and then be able to compare the Stage 2 upgrade over the Stage 1 setup too. As anyone who has driven the Mk3 Focus RS will tell you, it’s a pretty decent car straight out of the box – it hasn’t received worldwide acclaim from the motoring press for no reason! But, as ever, if you then drive an example that has been tweaked by tuners who aren’t shackled by the constraints that come with a mass-production, globally-sold car, then the standard car soon starts to look a bit tame.
And never has that been more apparent than when flashing a stock RS with REVO’s Stage 1 software upgrade. With no physical hardware changes at all, the Stage 1 software is flashed on in a matter of minutes and makes a huge difference to how the car performs!
All of a sudden, the standard car feels very lazy in comparison. The throttle feels much more alive, and the car is much keener to get up and go. The Stage 1 software really does encourage you to have a play – it’s like it’s egging you on when a part throttle, shouting “I’m ready, what are you waiting for!?” back at you every time to dab the throttle.
And when you succumb (because you will!) it rewards you with a wall of torque that just pins you back into the seat. You get a real surge, especially from around 3000rpm to 5500rpm – which is evident from the graph. The 2.3-litre EcoBoost in the RS is not a particularly rev-happy engine, so instead the Stage 1 software makes full use of the torque available at lower points in the power band. It still produces a very healthy power increase over stock (REVO claim between 370-382PS) but, as with the standard car, power does to start to drop off quite early (about 5500rpm-ish) and you can feel the rate of acceleration start to slow at that point. It means you want to short shift to stay within the powerband. The torque, however, is immense! Around 400lb.ft of the stuff! And to be fair, it’s the torque that makes REVO’s Stage 1 RS so fast in the real world. Yes, on a two-mile runway at Bruntingthorpe (where we were testing) you can keep your foot pinned and pull right the way around to 6500-7000rpm but in reality, most RSs will be driven on the public road and the punchy low-down grunt between roundabouts, traffic lights, and junctions is what will make the car feel fast and not necessarily the outright power figure.
But, for those who do want a greater peak power – those who enjoy the odd track day, or just power-hungry lunatics – REVO have just released their Stage 2 upgrade which builds upon the already-impressive Stage 1 to offer even more! The more aggressive software does require the use of some performance hardware upgrades to ensure everything works together in harmony, so REVO have actually released a full Performance Pack to include the hardware to suit too. This includes a complete air intake system (made from sexy carbon fibre), and an intercooler and pipework upgrade. The Stage 2 kit does also require a performance downpipe with either sports cat or de-cat, REVO’s demo car is fitted with a Milltek sports cat.
When driving normally the Stage 2 is little different from the Stage 1 car. The exhaust bark is a little deeper thanks to the sports cat, but largely it feels very similar – same responsiveness, same eagerness, and same energy as the Stage 1. But the difference when you start to drive harder is quite clear. It’s like someone turned the whole Stage 1 upgrade up a notch. The basic characteristics are the same, but there’s just more of it; more of that surge in the back, a harder pull, and most notably of all, no let up at higher revs.
This is where testing at Brunters really does show up the difference between the Stage 1 and Stage 2 packages; whereas before you could feel the rate of acceleration start to slow at around 5500rpm, now it just keeps pulling with the same level of intensity in a very linear fashion – right up until the little orange RS logo flashes at you when it’s time to change gear. By which point the EcoBoost is kicking out a whopping 440PS – 90PS more than the stock car!
Not only that, but there’s even more torque on offer from the Stage 2 kit. REVO claim as much as 455lb.ft from their Stage 2 upgrade! That’s a staggering 130lb.ft (the same as a S2 RS Turbo!) more than the standard car! And that is enough to get the relatively big and heavy Mk3 RS from 0-60mph in just 4.09 seconds and from 0-100mph in 10.07 seconds!
So if you want to make your standard RS feel fat, heavy, slow, and lethargic, then have a drive in a REVO Stage 2-tuned example – and then order the upgrade as you’ll want one!
Stage 1 spec
Kit: Stage 1 software upgrade
Stage 2 spec
Kit: Stage 2 software upgrade, Milltek downpipe including sports cat, REVO air intake system, REVO intercooler upgrade, REVO intercooler pipe upgrade
Cost: £1716.70 (£1217.70 as upgrade from Stage 1)