Feb 3, 2017
The Focus RS returns for a third iteration, and (finally) features four-wheel drive. Revealed ahead of its Geneva Motor Show debut, the Focus RS comes hot on the heels of the Ford GT, which is also being overseen by Ford Performance.
The Focus RS gets a modified version of the 2.3 litre EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder found the Mustang, with power to be in excess of 320 PS. With so much power available, four-wheel drive might seem the only sensible option. Revving to 6,800rpm, the all-aluminium engine receives significant upgrades, as well as a larger radiator to soak up the heat from track use. Fords RS engineers have kept the keen driver in mind when it comes to changing gears a six-speed manual comes as standard; theres no word on automatic transmissions.
The Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive system of the Focus RS features a rear drive unit with twin electronically-controlled clutch packs. This means 100% of the rear axle [positive] torque can be sent to either wheel. On top of this, the (brake-based) Torque Vectoring Control system can apply negative torque to the rear wheels individually. The net result is minimal understeer, improved turn-in and stability. Up to 70% of the total power can be sent rearwards, so power-oversteer should be feasible. Dave Pericak, global director of Ford Performance, enthuses we have created a car that will surprise and reward in equal measure.
The 30th car to receive the RS badge, the Focus RS sports dramatic changes over the face-lifted Mk3, 5-door Focus on which it is based. As with the ST, there is no 3 door version; will there be an estate? The aerodynamic kit features cooling intakes for the front brakes to prevent fade on track, and the giant rear spoiler is all present and correct. The wheels measure 19 in diameter, with lightweight forged alloys available that each reduce unsprung weight by 1kg.
The special Liquid Blue paint seen here, and also on the Ford GT, sadly wont be available; instead customers can choose from Nitrous Blue (exclusive to the Focus RS), Frozen White, Stealth Grey and Absolute Black. Sadly the Ultimate Green of the previous Focus RS appears to have been dropped; it would be nice to see red or orange but these would clash with the interior scheme.
Recaro seats dominate the interior of the Focus RS, which sports the much improved, de-cluttered facia of the facelifted Focus. The drivers display receives special RS graphics, with RS logos scattered right across the cabin. The additional gauges seen in the ST feature, alongside blue stitching for the seats, mats, flat-bottomed (sigh) steering wheel and more. Thanks to voice-recognition and satellite navigation, you can even tell the Focus RS to Find a race track and it will locate the nearest circuit.
The new Ford Focus RS promises to be the most dynamic and thrilling Rallye Sport yet. And refreshingly, theres no mention of a certain long German racetrack in the press release (drift does feature though), so theres a chance the Focus RS will excel in the real world, uncorrupted by the chase for a laptime. Production is set to begin later in 2017, so the Focus RS may be in the showrooms in time for Christmas.
Drawn to cars like a moth to a lightbulb. The automotive world is a life-long obsession for this engineer. If it has four wheels and an engine, chances are he can babble incoherently about it for hours.