Ford, last week, revealed the all-new Focus RS, a high-performance road car that debuts Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control, which contributes to performance never before seen in a Focus RS. The all-new Focus RS is equipped with a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine producing well in excess of 315 horsepower.
Developed by a small team of global Ford Performance engineers, the new Focus RS is the third generation in the line, following models launched in 2002 and 2009. It will be the 30th car to wear the legendary RS badge, following such technology trendsetters as the 1970 Escort RS1600 with 16 valves, 1985 Sierra RS Cosworth with turbocharging and radical aerodynamics and 1992 Escort RS Cosworth with four-wheel drive.
The all-new Focus RS is the first-ever RS model that will be sold around the world, including the United States, and produced for all markets at Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany, manufacturing plant beginning late this year.
Gymkhana and World Rallycross star Ken Block was brought on as a consultant on the all-new Focus RS, and joined the Ford Performance team at the preview event in Cologne, Germany –where the RS legend was born with the Ford 15M RS in 1968.
All-Wheel Drive offers a new level of handling
The all-new Focus RS exploits innovative new Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring to deliver a new level of handling capability and driver enjoyment, combining outstanding traction and grip with exciting agility and cornering speed.
The Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive system is based on twin electronically controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit. These manage the car’s front/rear torque split, and can control the side-to-side torque distribution on the rear axle – delivering the “torque vectoring” capability that has a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability.
The control unit in the rear drive unit continuously varies the front/rear and side-to-side torque distribution to suit the current driving situation, monitoring inputs from multiple vehicle sensors 100 times per second. A maximum of 70 percent of the drive torque can be diverted to the rear axle. Up to 100 percent of available torque at the rear axle can be sent to each rear wheel.
During cornering, the rear drive unit pre-emptively diverts torque to the outer rear wheel immediately based on inputs such as steering wheel angle, lateral acceleration, yaw and speed. This torque transfer has the effect of “driving” the car into the bend, achieving improved turn-in and stability, and virtually eliminating understeer.
Ford engineers worked closely with Michelin to develop a choice of high-performance 235/35 R19 tires to complement the driving dynamics of the Focus RS: a standard Pilot Super Sport tire for every-day use, and – for the first time on an RS – an optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 tire for enhanced vehicle dynamics on the track.
Unique powertrain for increased output
Ford’s EcoBoost technology powers Focus RS and nearly every new Ford vehicle. The specially engineered 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine has levels of power and torque that translate into impressive acceleration when combined with the exceptional all-wheel-drive traction.
Projected to produce well in excess of 315 horsepower, the custom unit shares its fundamental structure with the all-aluminum 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine in the all-new Mustang, but has been significantly upgraded through a comprehensive package of design changes.
Increased output is generated by a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with larger compressor that delivers significantly greater airflow, along with a much bigger intercooler to maximize charge density. Engine breathing is enhanced through a less restrictive intake design, and a large-bore high-performance exhaust system with an electronically controlled valve in the tailpipe that helps optimize the balance of back pressure and noise output.
The six-speed manual transmission has been optimized for the enthusiast driver with a shorter gear lever to deliver faster and more accurate shifts. Both the transmission and the clutch have been upgraded with stronger components to cope with the engine’s increased torque output.
Stunning looks with optimum function
Focus RS exterior design is both dramatic and functional, with a more powerful and muscular character. Designers worked closely with Ford Performance to ensure that the necessary functional attributes were achieved, focusing on the aerodynamic downforce and balance delivered by the design, as well as the cooling demands of the powertrain and brakes.
The RS features a powerful new front end appearance with a bold upper trapezoidal grille above the deep splitter, incorporating the largest possible apertures for engine cooling. A wide, muscular stance is emphasized by the lower wings and large outboard openings on each side of the car, which feed the brake cooling ducts and house vertically mounted lamps.
At the rear, the fascia panel is dominated by the exceptionally large diffuser, which optimizes airflow from under the vehicle and contains the twin round high-performance exhaust outlets. Focus RS for Europe and Asia markets will also get a clear central fog lamp. The distinctive rear roof spoiler is carefully integrated with the car’s silhouette through body-colored side panels featuring a subtle embossed RS logo.
The dynamic side profile is emphasized by sculptured rocker panels, and the bold wheel lips that house a choice of multi-spoke 19-inch RS alloy wheels – including a high-performance lightweight forged design finished in low-gloss black, which offers enhanced strength and impact resistance.
The high-performance character of Focus RS is reflected inside the car, where heavily bolstered partial-leather Recaro sports seats serve as the centerpiece of the cockpit.