The Exhaust Upgrade Guide for the Ford Focus RS

The Exhaust Upgrade Guide for the Ford Focus RS. To call the MK3 Ford Focus a hot hatch would be an understatement. Third-degree hatch or napalm hatch may be more appropriate descriptors. The third generation Focus RS arrived in the United States in 2015 to widespread acclaim from enthusiasts and reviewers alike. It was a first for the US market, as the RS nameplate didn’t appear until the MK3. The 2.3L Ecoboost four-cylinder engine used in the 2014 Ecoboost Mustang powers the MK3 Focus RS. Despite its small 2.3L displacement, the Focus RS develops 350 horsepower and accelerates to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Those stats are what distinguishes the RS from the rest of the Ford lineup.

While the RS lacks a V8 behemoth beneath the hood, the 2.3L Ecoboost engine is quite sensitive to aftermarket modifications. The MK3 Focus RS is an undeniably thrilling car right out of the box. However, as with other things, it may be made more exciting. An enhanced exhaust system is one of the outstanding changes that might add a little more vigor to your RS driving experience. Because the 2.3L Ecoboost is a turbocharged engine, it benefits greatly from a less restrictive exhaust system. Aside from speed advantages, an enhanced Focus RS exhaust can add some extra sound to the mix for individuals who want to make a big debut.

The Exhaust Upgrade Guide for the Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS Exhaust System Varieties

In addition to the factors outlined above, you’ll need to decide which sort of aftermarket Focus RS exhaust will be the greatest fit for you. There are two types of exhausts that are regularly installed on 2016-2018 Focus RSs. Turbo-back and cat-back exhausts are examples of this.

Exhaust from a Turbocharged Engine

A Ford Focus RS Turbo-back exhaust system is the most powerful exhaust system you can install. A turbo-back exhaust, as opposed to a cat-back exhaust, replaces practically every component of your factory exhaust. This includes the downpipe and catalytic converter for your Focus RS. This allows you to increase the diameter of the entire system, allowing more exhaust gas to escape. Because of this, turbo-back exhausts deliver the most significant performance benefits. Because a Focus RS header-back exhaust replaces everything, they are typically the most expensive type of exhaust available. Furthermore, they are the more complex type of exhaust to install of the two.

Exhaust with a Catalytic Converter

A cat-back exhaust is a system that is typically installed on lightly modified Focus RSs. Cat-back exhausts are precisely what their name implies. From the catalytic converter to the exhaust tip, they replace all stock exhaust components. This type of exhaust is often composed of stainless steel and is designed to improve exhaust gas flow out of the engine, resulting in somewhat increased power and significantly increased noise. Aftermarket Focus RS cat-back exhaust systems can vary significantly in terms of pipe diameter, tip diameter, and exit angle.

Exhaust System for the Ford Focus RS

The MK3 Focus RS really has some fairly good equipment for a standard exhaust system. The factory RS exhaust configuration is similar to that of most other turbocharged sports vehicles. It has a catalytic converter in the downpipe very soon after the turbo. Following that, a 2.75″-diameter cat-back system takes over, with few obvious or major constraints. There will be an additional cat farther down the system in many other automobiles identical to the RS. From an emissions standpoint, it appears that the RS does not require any further exhaust cleaning. That probably speaks to the 2.3L Ecoboost’s efficiency.

The factory Focus RS exhaust is a well-tuned system. It boasts good factory flow numbers from the catalytic converter to the exhaust tips in terms of its real design. As a result, an aftermarket Focus RS cat-back exhaust will not provide a significant performance boost. The improvements will be more obvious with a turbo-back system. This is due to the fact that Focus RS turbo-back exhausts replace the factory cat with a higher flowing one, removing a major source of restriction. It is safe to predict that a cat-back exhaust will add 5-10 horsepower, while a turbo-back exhaust will add roughly 20 horsepower.

What Is the Function of the Ford Focus RS Exhaust Valve?

The valved architecture of the factory Focus RS exhaust system is a notable feature. While valved exhausts are not a novel concept, there is still misconception among Ford Focus owners regarding how the RS valved exhaust works. In layman’s terms, the factory RS exhaust has a valve integrated into the muffler outlet pipe on the left side. The PCM in the RS electronically controls the valve and actuates it to one of two positions, open or closed.

During a cold start, the PCM is designed to open the valve to either annoy your neighbors or amaze your friends, depending on the situation. The valve will close after the cold start sequence. Then, depending on engine load, engine rpm, and vehicle speed, it will open and close. The PCM in the Focus RS consistently measures and modifies all of these variables in real time. While there isn’t a significant difference in performance between the two valve locations, there is a noticeable variation in sound. According to the RS owner’s manual, with the valve open, exhaust limits are kept to a minimum. It further says that with the valve open, the RS delivers a more “sporty” sound. They could have maybe been a little more descriptive, but that’s okay. The Ford Focus RS exhaust is slightly more limited and creates far less noise when the valve is closed.

One of the most significant shortcomings of the stock Focus RS valved exhaust system is the lack of manual valve control. That regrettable limitation is a major reason why there are so many aftermarket valved exhausts for the Focus RS.

AWE Switchpath Exhaust for Ford Focus RS

Price: $2,595.00

Ford Focus RS 2016-2018 compatible

The Exhaust Upgrade Guide for the Ford Focus RS

The AWE Switchpath is a performance Focus RS Catback system that keeps the valved functionality of the factory exhaust while providing a bit more adjustability. AWE is a brand that has made a name for itself in a number of aftermarket groups. Quality exhausts are available for everything from McLarens to Volkswagens. Their Ford exhausts are particularly well-known and well-reviewed. AWE Switchpath is a popular among Focus RS owners because it strikes a solid balance between aftermarket performance and factory functionality.

The AWE Switchpath exhaust, like the factory Focus RS exhaust, is valved. The AWE, unlike the factory RS exhaust, allows you to change the valve mode with the push of a button. To give you complete control, the Switchpath comes with a wireless remote that bypasses the RS PCM valve control system.

Aside from the amusing valve party trick, the AWE Switchpath is a pretty good Focus RS exhaust in terms of performance. It is totally made of T304L stainless steel and features larger diameter pipework than the stock exhaust. The Switchpath’s 3.0″ diameter improves gas flow out of the 2.3L Ecoboost engine, resulting in increased power. The AWE exhaust can be ordered with or without resonators. If you want the least amount of exhaust drone, they recommend purchasing it with resonators. Otherwise, if you want a little more sound and power, go with the non-resonated version.

While the AWE Switchpath exhaust is the most expensive option on this list, it certainly is the finest in terms of versatility and performance.

Exhaust Mountune V2X 2.3L Ecoboost RS

Price: 1,287.99

Ford Focus RS 2016-2018 compatible

The Exhaust Upgrade Guide for the Ford Focus RS

When it comes to a given manufacturer or car, there is usually one aftermarket manufacturer that stands out above the rest. Mountune is the manufacturer in the instance of the MK3 Focus RS. They certainly have the greatest tuning knowledge with the RS and the most extensive inventory of Focus RS performance parts. The Mountune V2X is widely regarded as a favorite among RS enthusiasts, and it’s simple to understand why.

In terms of construction, the Montune V2X sticks rather close to the original formula. The most noticeable alteration is the increase in exhaust pipping to 3.0,” which allows exhaust vapors to exit slightly easier. It includes a high-flow silencer that eliminates exhaust drone totally. To ensure the best sealing possible, all of the joints are joined by either V-band or special double-slip joints. Depending on your preferences, the V2X is available with or without a valve. The non-valved V2X is unquestionably louder.

The sound produced by the Montune Focus RS exhaust is the key reason for its popularity. To say the least, most 2.3L Ecoboost Ford RS owners complain about the factory exhaust loudness. The Mountune V2X addresses this issue by enhancing the character of the 2.3L Ecoboost engine during severe acceleration. Owners of the V2X report that the exhaust produces the crackles and pops that most RS owners seek.

Turboback MK3 RS Exhuast System by COBB Tuning

Price: $1,425.00

Ford Focus RS 2016-2018 compatible

If you want to get the most power and performance out of your MK3 Focus RS’s exhaust system, you’ll need to invest in a full turbo-back system. While cat-back systems can undoubtedly improve exhaust flow, the primary restriction is the stock catalytic converter in your Focus RS’s downpipe. To dramatically minimize backpressure, the COBB Tuning MK3 Focus RS turbo-back system replaces the factory catalytic converter with a 4.5″ high flow GESi cat.

The COBB exhaust, like many of the other options on our list, is a 3.0″ system with a bespoke straight-through muffler and resonator that gives the perfect combination of sound and flow. The COBB Focus RS Turboback is a valved system that uses an OEM valve that comes with the package. Owners of the COBB Turboback remark that it has just the right amount of raspiness when pushed hard and softens up significantly on the interstate.

In terms of performance, the COBB Focus RS Turboback is unrivaled, especially when combined with a performance tune. COBB is a tuning firm at heart, and its performance parts are designed with tuning in mind. When used in conjunction with a tune, the Turboback can produce double-digit horsepower and torque improvements. COBB even boasts that their Ford Focus RS exhaust is so free-flowing that it outperforms the stock turbo. If you want to make a lot of power, get the COBB Turboback and never worry about your exhaust again.

Related : The Ford 2.3 EcoBoost vs. 2.7 EcoBoost

Milltek Exhaust Sport Cat-Back Focus RS

Price: $1,599.00

Ford Focus RS 2016-2018 compatible

Milltek is no stranger to the exhaust game. For almost three decades, they’ve been producing high-quality exhaust components for a range of manufacturers. As a result, they understand what they’re doing. This is also true for their 2016-2018 Ford Focus RS Sport Cat-back system. The Milltek exhaust is composed of anti-magnetic 304 aircraft-grade stainless steel, which is a strong point. The high-quality steel is exceptionally robust and resists discoloration over time. Milltek is proud of their cutting-edge CNC mandrel tube benders, which produce buttery smooth bends that aid in exhaust gas flow.

The Milltek exhaust for the Focus RS is available in both resonated and non-resonated configurations. The former has marginally better exhaust flow characteristics. The Focus RS Sport exhaust comes with four different 4.5″ exhaust tips to make things more interesting from an aesthetic standpoint. Polished stainless tips, brushed titanium tips, ceramic black tips, and burnt titanium tips are among them. The mounting hardware for the stock valve components is retained by the Focus RS Milltek exhaust. While it does not support manual valve control, the factory valve option is still available.

Summary of the Focus RS Exhaust Upgrade Guide

The Ford Focus RS is a modern hot hatch with a racing heritage. The 2.3L Ecoboost engine that powers it is a terrific powerhouse with a lot of untapped potential that can be unleashed with a few tweaks. One of these upgrades is a new exhaust system. The advantages of upgrading the exhaust system on a Focus RS are basically twofold. They slightly enhance power and offer your RS a new and improved sound that will make you grin. The factory-valved Focus RS exhaust system leaves a lot to be desired in terms of sound. You’ll hear your RS a lot more inside and outside the cabin if you use a larger diameter system with a better-designed resonator (or a resonator delete).

If you’re looking for a Focus RS cat-back exhaust system, don’t expect to see any real power boosts. Because the factory RS exhaust design is efficient after the catalytic converter, the improvements are basically only from switching to a high-flow catalytic converter. As a result, if you want greater performance, a Focus RS turbo-back system is your best bet. From AWE to Milltek, there are some big names in the Focus RS exhaust game. All of the exhausts on this list are assured to be of high quality and will enhance your Focus RS driving experience.