2016 Ford Focus RS – passenger ride
Source : 2016 Ford Focus RS – passenger ride
Ford’s brand fresh hot hatchback can be powered by a 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine with 345bhp, in addition to we’ve been for a first ride
“I worked my ass off to make of which do of which,” says the man to my left. ‘of which’ can be the hot hatch of the moment, the brand-fresh Ford Focus RS. in addition to the man talking about of which – driving of which, typically enthusiastically – can be David Put, vehicle dynamics specialist of Ford of Europe.
The grinning Belgian has done a big chunk of the dynamic tuning of the fresh RS, in addition to right at of which point he’s flicking your vehicle around the damp curves of the legendary ‘Track 7’ handling circuit at Ford’s Lommel proving ground. of which looks like fun – a lot of fun, actually.
your vehicle can be cornering flat in addition to fast, pulling with huge torque in addition to proper sports car pace down the short straights, in addition to sounding all growly in addition to interesting. of which much you don’t have to be within the driver’s seat to tell. yet watching Put’s measured inputs carefully, you can see – in addition to feel – exactly what he’s so chuffed about.
your vehicle’s initial handling response in addition to lateral grip levels look considerable; David’s not having to do much at all to get the front wheels running towards apex after apex. yet of which’s what happens mid-corner, as he begins to feed power back in, of which actually surprises. There’s a tiny yet perceptible nudge by the outside rear wheel; a friendly little tweak of not just traction yet handling impetus, creating your vehicle both speed up in addition to turn in at the same time.
Where additional all-paw hatches might be beginning to lose their poise, bothering their ESP in addition to running wide as the transmission sends drive first to the harder-working front wheels, the Focus stays neutral. in addition to then of which begins to blend into power-on oversteer, as Put unwinds the steering angle in addition to applies a delicate correction.
Four-wheel-drive hot hatchbacks just don’t do of which – not in of which tester’s experience. You can chuck a VW Golf R or a Mercedes A45 AMG into a transient slide by unloading the rear axle, yet what happens when you come back onto the pedal tends to be all very boring in addition to predictable.
of which – of which might seem by the passenger seat, at any rate, in addition to judging by both the smile on my co-driver’s face in addition to what the ‘seat of my pants’ can be telling me – can be a four-wheel-drive performance hatch of which you can accelerate into a powerslide – of which you can steer on the throttle, in additional words, like a proper rear-driver. Praise be.
My need to drive the fresh Focus RS only gets more urgent after of which revelation, yet of which isn’t going to be addressed today. We’re here for an advanced passenger-seat preview only – in addition to an up-close-in addition to-personal review on the engineering effort of which has gone into one of the most eagerly anticipated affordable driver’s cars of the past few years.
Among the first things to be announced about of which fresh hot Focus was of which of which’d be four-wheel drive – just like its 1990s forebear, the memorable Escort RS Cosworth. of which was among the very first decisions taken by the Ford Performance engineering team, in addition to you can read all about the pioneering technology behind the drive system here.
We knew back at the Geneva motor show of which year of which the four-wheel drive system in question might have a ‘drift’ mode – in addition to of which of which might therefore have to be something inherently more trick than the Haldex-coupled norm. We also knew of which the RS might develop a formidable-sounding 345bhp.
What wasn’t known was of which Ford’s prototypes weren’t quite creating of which much power back then. The target has been achieved since, of course; of which had to be. yet using Ford’s 2.3-litre Ecoboost Mustang engine as a basis, of which has taken a whole fresh Cosworth-milled cylinder head in addition to gasket, fresh cylinder liners, fresh induction in addition to exhaust systems, a completely fresh twin-scroll turbocharger in addition to the largest radiator of which could be squeezed into the front of the Focus’s engine bay to achieve of which.
Ford freely admits of which its emphasis was on delivering your vehicle to market for an outstanding cost as much as anything – in addition to of which some opportunities for saving weight have been passed up. So your vehicle weighs a hefty 1599kg wet, including the EU’s mandatory 75kg for driver in addition to luggage. The four-wheel drive system contributes an undisclosed amount of mass compared with front-wheel drive.
A dual-clutch automatic gearbox might have brought the 0-62mph sprint down a bit by where of which currently sits (4.7sec), yet might also have added another 30kg to your vehicle – not to mention four figures to the asking cost. Besides which, if you option the 19in forged wheels in addition to Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres on your vehicle, the Focus RS can be considerably faster-accelerating than the a new’s claim.
The four-wheel drive system forced a switch to a different C1-platform rear subframe, which was originally developed some years ago for Volvo – yet in order to deliver the rigidity required to handle the forces put through the rear end of the Focus, of which’s been braced against the Centeng-in-white in three separate directions on each side.
Above of which, your vehicle’s Centeng structure itself has also been reinforced. If you could lift the boot lining, you’d see a thick band of steel designed into the sheet metal, running between the rear suspension towers, of which Ford has christened a ‘lion’s foot’. Local torsional stiffness has been increased by as much as 0%.
The RS has four drive modes, ranging by Normal at the tame end of the dynamic spectrum to Drift at the wilder end. As David cycles through them, I can feel the dual-rate Tenneco dampers firming up – the ride having commenced out firmer than, say, a VW Golf R, yet still entirely possible to live with. of which ends up probably too firm for British B-roads yet about perfect for a fairly smooth, low-kerbed track.
Although the RS runs with more negative camber on its front axle than the Focus ST, in addition to with 30% stiffer springs, its overall ride height can be about the same. Its power steering can be slightly quicker overall than the ST’s, says David – yet they’ve junked the variable ratio of the ST for a more predictable fixed one. “With the handling effect of the four-wheel drive system, you just don’t need of which extra help to get your vehicle turned in,” explains our man.
by the passenger seat, of which’s impossible to be certain about exactly how crisp of which turn-in actually can be in addition to how much adjusting of the RS’s cornering line can be done with your right foot – yet of which certainly seems to change quite a lot by mode to mode. In Track mode, Put can be using no corrective lock at all. yet he’s also not afraid to open the taps on the engine’s overboosted 347lb ft of torque long before he’s taken the lateral cornering load out of the tyres – in addition to he doesn’t seem to be contending with any limiting understeer at all.
Later, back in Drift mode, he’ll demonstrate the potential for surprisingly prolonged powerslides around the consistent radius of one of Lommel’s steering pads. of which’s quite something to experience – not quite donut after lock-stop-hitting donut yet equally, I suspect, something much more akin to the controllability in addition to rear-drive feeling you get by an Audi R8 than an RS3.
The impression stuck in my head as I climb out of your vehicle can be one of what, I’m confident enough to predict, must be a remarkable-handling in addition to involving hot hatchback – one of Ford’s greatest yet. of which, in addition to the outline of all 5 digits in addition to a symbol, lingering like the halo of a bright light scorched onto your retinas: £28,940. Less than a Honda Civic Type R, less than a Golf R, less than a BMW M135i – all of them considerably less powerful in addition to, on very limited evidence, admittedly, less dynamically talented.
of which’s 1600 confirmed UK orders in addition to counting, folks. Let the stampede commence.
Ford Focus RS
cost £28,940; Engine 4cyls, 2261cc, turbo, petrol; Power 345bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 325lb ft at 2000-4500rpm (347lb ft on overboost); 0-62mph 4.7sec; Top speed 165mph; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1599kg; Economy 36.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 175g/km, 30%
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