Sunday, March 8, 2015
Ford Focus RS Goes Global, Packs 320-Horsepower EcoBoost Engine and All-Wheel Drive
Ford enters the hot hatch foray with its Focus RS which has been officially shown at the Geneva Motor Show. The highest performing variant of their compact hatchback, the Focus RS slots above the Focus ST and is part of the Blue Oval’s plan to deliver 12 new vehicles (including the Ford GT) under the Ford Performance brand by the year 2020. The all-new Focus RS gets a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive for the very first time.
The 30th vehicle to wear the RS badge since 1968, the Focus RS delivers 320 horsepower from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine. This is the same engine that powers the Mustang EcoBoost but has been significantly uprated thanks to a bigger intercooler and enhanced engine breathing. Thanks to meticulous calibration work, it also enjoys a high 6,800-rpm redline. Ford Performance engineers also tuned the exhaust to have a characteristic sporty sound that burbles, pops, and crackles. This high-performance engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox with a shorter gear lever and upgraded clutch. Idling start/stop is also fitted as standard to significantly improve the Focus RS’s emissions.
Making its debut on the Focus RS is Ford Performance’s new All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring. Not only can it manage power front-to-back, but also manage torque split side-to-side. This makes Ford Performance’s system a true torque vectoring system rather than one just based on the brakes (we’re talking about you, Subaru WRX STI). A control unit monitors multiple vehicle sensors at all times and can send up to 70 percent of available torque to the back. Up to 100 percent in the rear can be sent to each wheel.
This sophisticated all-wheel drive system makes the Focus RS capable of lateral acceleration in excess of 1 g. It should also make it neutral through corners while giving it the ability to control oversteer drifts on the track. Of course, the Focus RS still comes with brake based torque vectoring. If there are any doubts to its hoonability, Ford got Ken Block as a consultant in the development of the Focus RS.
Other handling features include a stiffer suspension, recalibrated electronic power steering, and 235/35R19 (Michelin Pilot Super Sport or Sport Cup 2) on all four corners.
Outside, the Focus RS features an aggressive shape necessitated by functionality. Because of large demands for cooling the EcoBoost engine, the Focus RS has numerous ducting and vents. Inside, it features a flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel and Recaro sport seats as standard. Signature RS Recaro shell seats are available as an option. It also comes with Ford SYNC and other niceties.
Now comes the most important bit: the Focus RS is now a global product and will be available to customers not just in Europe, but in the Americas and Asia as well. With production centered in Saarlouis, Germany, it’s certainly going to be pricey; but we hope Ford Philippines will bring a couple of units of this lovely Focus RS into the country.
If there’s one great halo car they can bring in, it’s this one. Yes, there’s the Ford Mustang and even the Ford GT, but if there’s one way to make Filipinos endear themselves to the Focus badge, is to give them a taste of the RS.