Why a Diesel SUV Smokes a Ford Focus RS In a Drag Race, And Why We're Okay With That

There's a very good reason why the Focus RS lost, and we support it 100 percent.

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YouTubeTop Gear

Ooooh, this is bad. No performance car fan wants to read about an SUV beating a hot hatch in a drag race. It seems to support everything we stand against: The growing ubiquity of 4x4s and crossovers, the under-appreciation of hatchbacks, the misconception of performance cars as frivolous.

But if you think about it, there's some great news in this video.

The basics: got together an Audi SQ7 and a Ford Focus RS for a drag race.

The Audi: A high-performance version of the automaker's biggest SUV, powered by a 4.0-liter diesel V8 with twin turbos and an electric supercharger, kicking out 435 horses and 664 lb-ft of torque. (Note: It's still unclear if this muscle-diesel will come to the US market.)

The Ford: A 350-hp turbo, all-wheel drive hatchback that's had its fair share of bad news recently.

The result:

Yes, the three-row SUV absolutely murders the turbo hot hatch in Top Gear's drag race of unspecified length. The Ford's 4.7-second 0-60 and 13.6-second quarter mile were no match for the Audi's 4.5 and 13.1, respectively.

And we're okay with that, because it all comes down to the one thing Top Gear says hampered the Ford: Its six-speed manual transmission. See, while the Focus RS has launch control and all-wheel drive to make the holeshot easy, the Audi's eight-speed auto means no interruption to its heroic torque. With a human being handling the upshifts, the Ford loses steam to the SUV.

If what you're looking for in life is a three-row crossover that can smoke a hot hatch, be our guest. We'll opt for the lighter, lower, infinitely more engaging Focus RS—in no small part because it's only available with the manual transmission. We'll gladly give up a few tenths in acceleration for the joy of rowing our own.

Besides, we're certain that, when the going gets twisty, the Ford will have the outright advantage. Physics says so.

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