Ford revealed another of its promised performance models (earlier post), the all-new Focus RS, a high-performance road car that debuts Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control. The all-new Focus RS is equipped with a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine producing 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 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.
Featuring an exterior design that delivers enhanced aerodynamics and cooling, the new Focus is the first 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.
Powertrain for increased output. Ford’s EcoBoost technology powers Focus RS and nearly every new Ford vehicle. Projected to produce well in excess of 315 horsepower (235 kW), the custom unit shares its fundamental structure with the all-aluminum 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine in the 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 cylinder head is produced from an upgraded alloy material capable of withstanding higher temperatures, and is mounted on a more robust head gasket with improved thermal capability. The cylinder block employs stronger high-tensile cast iron liners.
Engine cooling also has been given the highest priority, with engineers creating additional space within the front of the vehicle to house a significantly larger radiator pack that provides the level of cooling demanded for hard circuit use.
Meticulous calibration work ensures that the power unit delivers excellent low-end responsiveness with a powerful mid-range pull, climbing to a free-revving top end up to a maximum rev limit of 6,800 rpm.
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.
With its high-efficiency EcoBoost design featuring direct fuel injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing, advanced turbocharging and Auto Start-Stop as standard, the engine also delivers significantly improved fuel consumption.
Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive. 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 significant effect 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% of the drive torque can be diverted to the rear axle. Up to 100% of available torque at the rear axle can be sent to each rear wheel.
During cornering, the rear drive unit preemptively 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.
The AWD system has been tuned to deliver exceptional grip—with lateral acceleration exceeding 1 g—and great cornering speed and acceleration out of a bend. With neutral and adjustable limit handling, and the ability to achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track, Focus RS delivers an exceptional fun-to-drive experience, Ford says.
To deliver optimum driving dynamics, the Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive system was calibrated alongside the car’s advanced Electronic Stability Control, in particular the brake-based Torque Vectoring Control system that works in parallel with the torque-vectoring AWD.
Other exclusive chassis features include sports suspension with spring rates, bushings and antiroll bars—all of which are stiffer than those found in Focus ST, and two-mode switchable dampers, which offer a firmer setting for track driving. A carefully tuned electric power-assisted steering system working in combination with a more rigid front suspension knuckle design and shorter-link arms delivers connected and responsive steering with outstanding feel.
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.
The vehicle’s exterior design has also been developed to support the dynamic objectives. Careful aerodynamic optimization of the front splitter, rear spoiler and underbody features eliminates lift forces, and the final design delivers balanced performance with zero lift front and rear for optimum high-speed handling and stability.