On February 3rd, 2015, Ford warmed the hearts of Ford performance enthusiasts living in America with the announcement of the all-new Ford Focus RS. The newest redesign is Ford’s third-generation of the Focus RS and will be available in major markets around the world including, for the first time in Focus RS history, the United States! We can remember just a year ago posting the second-generation on social media with pleas that Ford bring it to America. The wait is over! The Focus RS comes after January’s announcement of the GT350R and the Ford GT supercar – all part of a new era of Ford performance that will deliver 12 new vehicles by 2020.
The first question you are probably thinking right now, “Is it AWD?” The answer: The high-performance Focus is patient zero for Ford Performance’s All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control, an all-new AWD system responsible for the impressive performance never before seen in a Focus RS. We had the same sigh of relief you just did, don’t worry. The next question, “Is it fast!?” The answer: The Focus RS will see the 2.3L Ecoboost four-cylinder engine currently being used in the Ecoboost Mustang, but tweaked for more power. That’s right, more power than a Mustang! We expect to see horsepower outputs north of 315 to 325.
What’s the deal with this Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Torque Vectoring Control?
Ford Performance took their established torque vectoring systems and combined it with capable AWD for an enhanced handling package that combines fantastic traction and grip, and nimble steering and cornering speed to deliver top notch driver confidence. The All-Wheel Drive system is powered by dual electronically controlled clutch packs on both sides of the rear drive unit. This system manages the vehicles front & rear torque division, and will have side-to-side torque management on the rear axle, providing the “torque vectoring” capability that exponentially increases handling and cornering stability. The control unit on the rear drive unit continuously monitors inputs from multiple sensors at 100 times per second. This allows the system to manage torque faster than a blink of an eye for changing road situations, such as taking a sharp corner. Once the vehicle makes the slightest change in wheel angle, lateral acceleration, yaw and speed that suggests a sharp turn, the system will divert torque to the outer rear wheel which will “drive” the car into the turn and eliminate understeer.
The AWD system delivers exceptional grip providing speed through those corners and substantial acceleration out of a bend. Ever dream of being a fighter jet pilot? Well you can experience something similar in the Focus RS which has a lateral acceleration exceeding 1 g! The AWD system was developed alongside the existing Electronic Stability Control, mainly the fined tuned brake-based Torque Vectoring Control system that works in conjunction. Other exclusive chassis features include sports suspension with stiffer spring rates, bushings, antiroll bars, carefully tuned electric power-assisted steering, rigid front suspension knuckle design and shorter-link arms which all contribute to the extremely responsive ride and outstanding handling.
Ecoboost makes an Ecobeast!
What you need to know about the 2.3L Ecoboost in the Focus RS: Over 315 horsepower! In previous articles we’ve discussed the advantages of the twin-scroll turbocharger in the 2.3L. The tweaked version we will be seeing in the Focus RS includes a larger compressor to deliver significantly increase airflow and a much bigger intercooler to maximize charge density. A less restrictive intake design and a large-bore high-performance exhaust all contribute to enhancing the powertrain airflow for maximum performance. We’ve covered what these engines are made of in other articles, so here is the short version of material changes to the engine: The alloys and iron have been optimized for managing higher temperatures, and a larger radiator pack provides outstanding cooling to manage hard circuit use. With all of this we have some more good news! The fuel economy is improved over the Mustang as well, combining the improved engineering with neat features like Auto Start-Stop standard.
Ford has shortened the gear lever to provide a faster, more accurate shift with enthusiasts drivers in mind. The transmission and clutch have been upgraded with stronger components and materials to cope with the increase in torque.
Keep your ears open for a release date. The model year for the Focus RS is being branded as the 2016 right now, but no one has even speculated on when we might see one. All we know is that over the next few years Ford will be releasing 12 impressive performance vehicles by 2020. If you do the math, that’s a new vehicle every 5 months!