By Franky Johnson
Ford’s all-new Focus RS high-performance hatchback pioneers the innovative Ford Performance All Wheel Drive (AWD) system, along with numerous advanced performance technologies to deliver exceptional cornering speed, thrilling performance and unbridled driving enjoyment.
With a specially engineered 257kW version of Ford’s new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, the Focus RS is the fastest-ever RS model, sprinting from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds and hitting a top speed of 266 km/h.
“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,” says Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “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 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The all-new Focus RS is the first global RS model designed for 42 markets around the world. Production commenced on 14 January 2016 at Ford’s Saarlouis manufacturing plant in Germany. South Africa will receive a limited supply of 300 units – which is sure to once again make the Focus RS an exclusive and highly sought-after model.
Innovative Ford Performance All Wheel Drive
The all-new Focus RS features the 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.
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 and more efficient anti-roll-bars than those found in the Focus ST, and two-mode switchable dampers, which offer a 40% firmer Sport setting for track driving.
A carefully tuned electric power-assisted steering system, working in combination with an optimized front suspension knuckle design and shorter steering link arms, delivers responsive steering with outstanding feel.
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.
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 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. 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. A Performance Shift Light in the instrument cluster alerts the driver when approaching the optimum upshift point of 5 900 r/min, and flashes if the engine hits the limit of 6 800 r/min.
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.
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 specifically developed for the high-performance Focus RS to deliver 10% more power with a maximum output of 257kW.
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 440Nm is delivered between 2 000 and 4 500 r/min, with 470Nm available for up to 15 seconds on transient overboost during hard acceleration.
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.
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.
The EcoBoost power unit is manufactured at the Valencia Engine Plant in Spain, where every RS engine is subjected to a rigorous ‘listening test’ at the end of the production line to pick up any tell-tale noises that might indicate a possible defect and that machines cannot easily identify.
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 focus on the aerodynamic downforce and balance delivered by the design, as well as the cooling demands of the powertrain and brakes.
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 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 multi-spoke 19-inch RS alloy wheels, finished either in silver or optional Gunmetal dark grey.
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 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.
The high-performance character of the RS is reflected inside the car with heavily-bolstered Recaro sports seats as the centrepiece of the cockpit. Signature RS Recaro shell seats, with authentic motorsport microfibre fabric panels, are available as an option.
The interior features the redesigned Focus control layout with SYNC®2 connectivity providing access to audio, climate control and mobile phones via voice control, and via an 8-inch colour touchscreen.
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.
Proud heritage – the 30th RS
Developed by a small team of Ford Performance engineers in Europe and the US, the new Focus RS is the third generation of Focus RS cars, following models launched in 2002 and 2009 – only the latter was sold in South Africa, in limited numbers, thus making it very exclusive and sought-after.
The all-new Focus RS 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.