Automotive

Under the skin of the new Ford Focus RS

Under the skin of the new Ford...
The new Ford Focus RS is the 30th car to wear the esteemed RS badge
The new Ford Focus RS is the 30th car to wear the esteemed RS badge
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Focus RS: Power comes from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine
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Focus RS: Power comes from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine
The RS is six-speed manual only, with an anti-stall system
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The RS is six-speed manual only, with an anti-stall system
The new Ford Focus RS is the 30th car to wear the esteemed RS badge
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The new Ford Focus RS is the 30th car to wear the esteemed RS badge
RS bucket seats are standard on the hottest Focus
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RS bucket seats are standard on the hottest Focus
It might be designed to shred the racetrack, but the new Focus RS still has Ford's SYNC system
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It might be designed to shred the racetrack, but the new Focus RS still has Ford's SYNC system
That rear wing is big, but we're not sure about the aerodynamic benefits
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That rear wing is big, but we're not sure about the aerodynamic benefits
Brembo has taken care of the brakes on the Focus RS
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Brembo has taken care of the brakes on the Focus RS
The brake callipers are painted blue as standard, but owners can also choose to have the Brembo logo on them
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The brake callipers are painted blue as standard, but owners can also choose to have the Brembo logo on them
The last generation RS was front-drive, but Ford has gone all-wheel drive for the new car
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The last generation RS was front-drive, but Ford has gone all-wheel drive for the new car
Because of the extra power, Ford has placed a focus on cooling the EcoBoost engine
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Because of the extra power, Ford has placed a focus on cooling the EcoBoost engine
Ford has thrown everything it has at making the RS handle well
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Ford has thrown everything it has at making the RS handle well
The all-wheel drive system can send up to 70 percent of the engine's power to the rear wheels
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The all-wheel drive system can send up to 70 percent of the engine's power to the rear wheels
The lower suspension arms are shaped to direct air at the brakes
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The lower suspension arms are shaped to direct air at the brakes
That twin exhaust has a special flap in it that reduces back pressure
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That twin exhaust has a special flap in it that reduces back pressure
The RS' all-wheel drive system can make up to 100 calculations per second
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The RS' all-wheel drive system can make up to 100 calculations per second
Ford has pumped the Focus' styling right up for the RS
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Ford has pumped the Focus' styling right up for the RS
The Focus RS will be built for Europe and the USA as a part of Ford's new One Ford policy
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The Focus RS will be built for Europe and the USA as a part of Ford's new One Ford policy
Ford says the body produces 'zero lift'
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Ford says the body produces 'zero lift'
Ford's torque vectoring all-wheel drive can send up to 100 percent of the power from the rear axle to an individual wheel
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Ford's torque vectoring all-wheel drive can send up to 100 percent of the power from the rear axle to an individual wheel
The RS is fitted with something called drift mode, which turns the car's systems towards driver fun
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The RS is fitted with something called drift mode, which turns the car's systems towards driver fun

With the huge range of hot-hatches on the market, you could be forgiven for not taking much notice of Ford's upcoming Focus RS. After all, on the surface it looks like just another four-cylinder, four-wheel drive turbo tearaway lining up to tackle the Audi RS3 or A45 AMG. But taking a closer look reveals that the RS has the potential to be something seriously special, thanks to the tech crammed into the car's hot-rod bodywork.

Engine

When it was first announced, Ford was expecting the Focus RS' 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine to produce about 315 hp (235 kW) and 475 Nm. The engine is originally from the Mustang EcoBoost, but engineers have cranked the boost pressure up from 18 psi to 23.1 psi for the RS.

The turbocharger is an all-new low-inertia, twin-scroll unit with a bigger compressor wheel that feeds more airflow to the engine and, consequently, more power throughout the rev range. To help handle that extra power, Ford's engineers have fitted the car with a bigger intercooler that maximizes charge density, while the engine breathes more freely through a low-restriction intake manifold.

To make the motor durable over its life, the cylinder liners are made of high-tensile cast iron and the EcoBoost motor's head gasket has been upgraded to deal with the extra heat it produces under heavy load.

Thanks to these upgrades, the engine produces 350 hp (261 kW) and 475 Nm of torque on overboost, putting it right in line with the five-cylinder Audi RS3 and the Mercedes A45 AMG in the power stakes.

Brembo has taken care of the brakes on the Focus RS
Brembo has taken care of the brakes on the Focus RS

Chassis

Whereas the last Focus RS channelled its power through a RevoKnuckle front-wheel drive system, Ford has turned to all-wheel drive for the new car. Instead of using a conventional differential or a haldex system, though, Ford has created a torque vectoring system that manages power forwards, backwards and side to side on each axle. The all-wheel drive system's electronic brain is able to make calculations 100 times per second, so it should be able to keep even the most ham-fisted drivers out of trouble.

Those calculations take steering, throttle, engine speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, brake and ESC system status and wheel speeds into account.

The system continuously varies the torque distribution to suit the driving situation. It uses two electronically controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit to send up to 70 percent of the engine's power to the back wheels.

Not only can it shuffle power between the front and rear axles, but Ford's system is able to send 100 percent of the power on the rear axle to an individual wheel, which can be used to rotate the car on corner entry. That should help to curb understeer, as should the brake-based torque vectoring system that works in tandem with the all-wheel drive system.

Ford is promising the car's all-wheel drive system will help drivers achieve over 1 g in corners, but there's an extra bit of fun to be had in the way the RS' handles. When the car is in Drift Mode, the RS' systems are designed to help drivers go sideways – if you're on a racetrack, of course.

Ford's torque vectoring all-wheel drive can send up to 100 percent of the power from the rear axle to an individual wheel
Ford's torque vectoring all-wheel drive can send up to 100 percent of the power from the rear axle to an individual wheel

Braking

Because Ford wants RS owners to feel confident on the track, the new car is fitted with 13.78-inch ventilated front discs, up from 13.23-inch discs on the old RS. Those bigger discs are clamped on by aluminum Brembo four-piston monobloc calipers finished in a special shade of RS Blue.

The brakes are cooled by dedicated ducts in the front fascia, twin "Jet Tunnel" vents in the underbody and special airflow guides on the lower suspension arms.

As you can see, Ford has thrown everything it has at its new Focus RS – after all, the new Focus is the 30th car to carry the RS badge, a badge that has graced the flanks of legendary cars like the Escort Cosworth. We're looking forward to getting behind the wheel and finding out if the car's fancy torque-vectoring all-wheel drive works like it says on the packet.

The new Focus RS is expected to hit US showrooms in Spring 2016.

Source: Ford

4 comments
Daishi
I admit I used to drive faster than I should have but I always preferred cars that were super rigid and predictable to put into corners at speed. Just the weight of a passenger sloshing around a bit always felt like it threw off the balance and predictability of the car slightly. Even cars with electronic instead of hydraulic controlled steering seem to throw off my comfort level to test the limits in corners. All this on the fly automatic power shifting to various wheels while you are driving sounds a little frightening in terms of sacrificing predictability and "feel" of the car. I'd have to drive one to know for sure but it seems like shifting so much torque around on its own would really throw me off.
CharlieSeattle
Ugly retro Edsel grill.
Bob Flint
Almost instant torque vectoring will be fantastic in a tight S chicane as the body roll and weight shifts. Currently my front wheels loose traction as the drive wheels and direction. Whereas the rear-end lets loose alternatively and adds to the problem. Would this also work in downshifting on icy conditions?
KaMaJa
Love the RS. It's my dream car. I hope to get one. Love looking at it. Can't wait to drive it. Thanks FORD I know the next name of your new model. We'll see if I'm right.