Ford’s all-new Focus RS high-performance car pioneers the innovative Ford Performance All Wheel Drive (AWD) system, and delivers class-leading cornering speed, thrilling performance and unbridled driving enjoyment.
The Focus RS also introduces advanced performance technologies, and is the first Ford RS equipped with selectable Drive Modes – including an industry-first Drift Mode – and Launch Control.
With a specially engineered 350 PS version of Ford’s new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, the high-performance hatchback is the fastest ever RS model, sprinting from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.7 seconds and hitting a top speed of 266 km/h (165 mph).
“The all-new Focus RS is a serious machine with high-performance technology and innovative engineering that sets new benchmarks for driving exhilaration on the road and track,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company. “It’s a great example of our passion for innovation through performance and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound.”
The Focus RS is part of a performance onslaught from Ford that will see more than 12 performance vehicles delivered to customers globally through 2020, including the stunning Ford GT ultra-high-performance supercar that will compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.
The all-new Focus RS is the first ever RS model that will be sold in North America and China, and commenced volume production for a total of 42 global markets on Jan. 14 at Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany, manufacturing plant.
European customers have already placed more than 3,100 orders for the new model, with 250,000 vehicles configured by customers on Ford’s websites.
Innovative Ford Performance All Wheel Drive offers unmatched handling
The all-new Focus RS features innovative Ford Performance AWD with Dynamic Torque Vectoring to deliver a new level of handling capability and driver enjoyment, combining outstanding traction and grip with unmatched agility and cornering speed.
The Ford Performance AWD system is based on twin electronically-controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit (RDU). These manage the car’s front-to-rear torque split, and also can control the side-to-side torque distribution at the rear axle – delivering the “torque vectoring” capability, which has a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability.
The control unit in the RDU continuously varies the front-to-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 per cent of the drive torque can be diverted to the rear axle. Up to 100 per cent of the available torque at the rear axle can be sent to each rear wheel, and the RDU can switch drive from one side to the other in as little as 0.06 seconds.
During cornering, the rear drive unit pre-emptively diverts torque to the outer rear wheel 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 by Ford engineers to deliver exceptional grip – with lateral acceleration force exceeding 1 g – and class-leading cornering speed and acceleration out of bends. With neutral and adjustable limit handling, and the ability to achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track, the Focus RS delivers the ultimate fun-to-drive experience.
“This AWD system is a breakthrough technology, capable of delivering supreme cornering and handling at the limit,” said Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance. “We have ripped up the rulebook which says that AWD hatchbacks cannot be fun to drive, and have created a car which will surprise and reward in equal measure.”
To deliver optimum driving dynamics, the Ford Performance AWD 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 stiffer spring rates – increased by 33 per cent front and 38 per cent rear – and more efficient anti-roll-bars than those found in the Focus ST, and two-mode switchable dampers, which offer a 40 per cent firmer Sport setting for track driving. A carefully tuned electric power-assisted steering system, working in combination with an optimised front suspension knuckle design and shorter steering link arms, delivers responsive steering with outstanding feel.
To ensure there was no compromise to the precision and connected feel offered by the steering, additional stiffening measures were introduced to the chassis – notably in the rear subframe – and the rear body structure. These measures increased the vehicle’s overall torsional stiffness by 23 per cent compared to a standard Focus model.
Ford engineers worked closely with Michelin to develop a choice of high-performance 235/35 R19 tyres to complement the driving dynamics of the Focus RS: a standard Pilot Super Sport tyre for every-day use, and – for the first time on an RS – an optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyre for enhanced vehicle dynamics on the track.
The vehicle’s exterior design has also been developed to support the driving dynamics. Careful aerodynamic optimisation of the front splitter, rear spoiler and underbody features eliminates lift forces, and the final design delivers a balanced performance with zero lift front and rear for optimum high-speed handling and stability.
With a drag coefficient of 0.355, the shape of the new model is 6 per cent more aerodynamic than the previous Focus RS, and with its more compact frontal area, the vehicle generates 9 per cent less drag, improving high-speed performance and reducing fuel consumption.
Advanced performance technologies
The all-new Focus RS offers advanced performance and driver assistance technologies to help ensure that its extreme driving capabilities are accessible to drivers of all skill levels.
The driver can select four different Drive Modes to configure the vehicle to deliver optimum performance in a range of driving conditions – with Normal or Sport settings for on-road driving, and Track or a special Drift Mode for circuit use only.
Each mode can be selected using a carefully-located switch alongside the gear lever, and has specific settings for the AWD system, damper controls, Electronic Stability Control system, steering and engine responses, and exhaust valve.
The industry-first Drift Mode features a specially developed calibration for the AWD system that modifies the torque distribution to help the driver achieve controlled oversteer drifts under circuit conditions. Both damper and steering settings are set to normal, providing enhanced control through smoother load transfers and lighter steering inputs.
For ultimate performance off the start-line, Launch Control configures the vehicle’s chassis and powertrain systems to deliver the fastest possible acceleration, whatever the track conditions. The driver selects Launch Control from the cluster menu, engages first gear, applies full throttle and then releases the clutch. The vehicle then delivers optimum drive – including distributing torque through the AWD system, maintaining maximum torque using turbo overboost function, managing the traction control system, and setting the dampers.
To achieve maximum acceleration through the gears, a Performance Shift Light in the instrument cluster alerts the driver when approaching the optimum upshift point of 5,900 rpm, and flashes if the engine hits the limit of 6,800 rpm.
For enhanced braking during hard track driving, the all-new Focus RS features the most powerful brake system ever fitted to an RS model, with 350 mm ventilated front discs and aluminium Brembo four-piston monoblock callipers – painted in distinctive RS blue with a Brembo logo available as an option. The lightweight callipers contribute to a weight saving of 4.3 kg per wheel compared to the smaller 336 mm discs on the previous Focus RS.
To help avoid brake fade even under sustained track use, brake cooling has been maximised through dedicated cooling ducts fed from the front fascia, twin “jet tunnels” in the underbody, and airflow guides on the lower suspension arms. The front discs feature aerodynamically optimised ventilation fins for enhanced cooling.
High-performance EcoBoost powertrain specially engineered for RS
The new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine for the all-new Focus RS shares its fundamental structure with the all-aluminium four-cylinder engine in the all-new Ford Mustang. The engine has been significantly upgraded for the Focus RS to deliver 10 per cent more power with a maximum output of 350 PS.
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 maximise charge density. Engine breathing also 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 optimise the balance of back pressure and noise output.
The cylinder head is produced from an upgraded alloy material capable of withstanding higher temperatures, while 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 – the biggest ever fitted to a Focus – that provides the level of cooling demanded for intense circuit driving.
Meticulous calibration work has ensured that the power unit delivers excellent low-end responsiveness with a powerful mid-range pull, while offering enthusiasts an exciting character and making the engine rewarding to rev up to the redline.
Maximum torque of 440 Nm is delivered between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm, with 470 Nm available for up to 15 seconds on transient overboost during hard acceleration. In-gear performance is quicker than the previous Focus RS, with 50-100 km/h (31-62 mph) in 4th gear achieved in 5.0 seconds, a reduction of 0.4 seconds.
Inspiring performance demands an inspiring soundtrack. Ford Performance engineers have tuned the RS exhaust system to deliver a rewarding and sporty sound character during spirited driving, and developed a unique injection calibration in Sport Mode to provide the distinctive burbles and pops that are a signature of RS models.
“This very special 2.3-litre EcoBoost unit will inspire drivers as they feel the surge of the turbo, and reward them as they take it to the red line – all delivered with a visceral sound guaranteed to put a smile on your face,” added Pericak.
The EcoBoost power unit is manufactured at the Valencia Engine Plant in Spain, where every single engine is subjected to a rigorous ‘listening test’ at the end of the production line. After completing an automated test cycle, specially trained employees run the engines to ensure they are performing perfectly, listening for tell-tale noises that might indicate a possible defect and that machines cannot easily identify.
The six-speed manual transmission in the Focus RS has been optimised for the enthusiast driver with a shorter gear lever and revised mechanism 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 and advanced turbocharging, the engine also delivers significantly improved fuel consumption. With Auto-Start-Stop fitted as standard, the new model achieves CO2 emissions of 175 g/km,* a 22 per cent reduction compared to the previous model.
High-performance design for stunning looks with optimum function
The 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.
“This is the ultimate Focus – stunning to look at, and entirely fit for purpose,” said Joel Piaskowski, director, Design, Ford of Europe. “RS models have always been striking, high-performance cars where function is paramount. This new Focus RS is true to that heritage.”
Based on the new Focus, the RS features a powerful new front-end appearance with a bold upper trapezoidal grille above the deep front splitter, incorporating the largest possible apertures for engine cooling. A wide, muscular stance is emphasised by the lower wings and large outboard openings on each side of the car, which feed the brake cooling ducts and house vertically-mounted fog lamps.
At the rear, the fascia panel is dominated by the exceptionally large diffuser, which optimises air flow from under the vehicle to reduce drag, and contains the twin round high-performance exhaust outlets and, in Europe and Asia, a clear central fog lamp. The distinctive rear roof spoiler is carefully integrated with the car’s silhouette through body-coloured side panels featuring a subtle embossed RS logo.
The dynamic side-profile is emphasised 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 that offers enhanced strength and impact resistance with weight savings of 950 g per wheel. Five striking exterior colours include Nitrous Blue, a vibrant four-coat metallic finish exclusive to the RS, as well as Stealth Grey, Shadow Black, Magnetic Grey and Frozen White.
Standard Bi-Xenon HID headlamps feature Adaptive Front Lighting, which adjusts the intensity and angle of the headlamp beams according to vehicle speed, steering angle and distance to objects for optimal illumination. Customers also can specify the latest Active City Stop automatic braking technology, which operates at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph).
The high-performance character of the RS is reflected inside the car with heavily-bolstered partial-leather Recaro sports seats as the centrepiece of the cockpit. Signature RS Recaro shell seats, with authentic motorsport microfibre fabric panels, are an option for customers in Europe and Asia.
The interior features the redesigned Focus control layout with its simpler, more intuitive design. SYNC 2 connectivity provides access to audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones via voice control, and via a high-definition, 8-inch colour touchscreen. Simple voice commands such as “Find a race track” enable RS owners to get instant directions to the nearest public circuit. SYNC 2 also can be specified with Rear View Camera with park distance control, as well as a Sony premium sound system with 10-speakers including a subwoofer.
The RS driving experience is reinforced by a new flat-bottomed steering wheel with a soft-feel leather covered rim, alloy foot pedals, and unique instrument graphics within the main cluster. An additional bank of gauges above the centre console displays turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure.
Throughout the cabin, the distinctive blue RS theme is echoed through stitching on the seats, steering wheel, floor mats and interior trim, the coloured graphic on the gear shifter, and via the RS logo itself, which is proudly displayed on the seats, steering wheel and door scuff plates.
Developed by a small team of Ford Performance engineers in Europe and U.S., the new Focus RS is the third generation of Focus RS cars, 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 16-valve 1970 Escort RS1600, the turbocharged Sierra RS Cosworth of 1985 with its radical aerodynamics, and the four-wheel-drive 1992 Escort RS Cosworth.