As you may have already guessed, the third and final installment of this series on making your Focus faster will deal with nitrous. However, since it's the middle of the night right now and my frontal lobe has gone AWOL I'm not going to feature a nitrous setup that I think you should get, but rather one that's so absurd it will either make you laugh or cry. Saleen, known for its heavily massaged Mustangs and the S7 supercar, dove into the sport compact market last year with its Saleen N20 Focus, a car so laughable in concept that its mere presence in reality might make you question a higher power.
Saleen is a primarily a turn-key tuner, meaning that rather than handing over your recently purchased Ford product
for an extreme makeover you can just buy the car from Saleen instead with all the aftermarket goodies already
installed. The beginning of the N20?s sad story starts with its price: $25,999. I shouldn?t have to tell you how many
outstanding production performance vehicles are available around that price (think Subaru WRX, EVO RS, Mustang GT? the
list goes on).
Handing over your annual salary to Saleen
(writer?s don?t get paid that much) will get you a balanced package of parts that includes a Saleen performance air filter and center exhaust system that nudge the 2.0L Zetec to about 150 sober ponies. Handling is improved thanks to the Saleen Racecraft system that includes N2 struts, coil springs, and stabilizer bars front and rear with urethane pivot bushings. The car also wears 17-inch Saleen aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in high-performance Pirelli tires.
So far we got better airflow through the
engine, sharper handling and superior grip. Pretty good, right? So long as driving the N20 Focus with a bag over your head doesn?t bother you, it?s pretty good. To think that the designers at Saleen actually believe this car?s design appeals to the taste of the average tuner is frightening. Check out that wing! Of all companies, you would think Saleen would know that a rear wing on a FWD vehicle is not just superfluous, it?s deliterious (Note - not sure if those adjectives are real words or if I made them up in my sleep-deprived stupor).
Now let?s talk about laughing gas. The N20
Focus comes ?nitrous ready? with a direct port nitrous 75-hp wet system and 10-lb nitrous bottle. The system comes without the main hose to the engine and some jumpers to hook up the wiring. Word has it that if you add the missing parts and call Saleen to get the bottle filled you are faxed a form that once signed releases Saleen from all liability and voids your warranty. So if you want your Focus to achieve its full potential of 225 temporary horesepower and achieve Saleen?s claimed performance of 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and a 14-second quarter-mile, your warranty will be worthless.
Despite the high-end handling modifications and air-flow components, the N2O Focus is doomed by its unjustifiably large price tag, repulsive ?ricer? body kit and non-functioning nitrous kit. It?s difficult to understand why a company that made its name supercharging Fords would ignore its area of expertise and choose to increase the performance of the Focus with a nitrous system that once operational voids the vehicle?s warranty. I?m sure many comments to this post will point out alternatives to the N2O that are less expensive, go faster and still have a warranty. Check out this comparison chart on Saleen?s website where it?s apparent that the Dodge SRT-4 costs over $4,000 less, reaches 60 mph .2 seconds quicker and still maintains its 3-year, 36,000 mile warranty.