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, as well as also we’ve been for a first ride
“I worked my ass off to make the idea do in which,” says the man to my left. ‘the idea’ can be the hot hatch of the moment, the brand-fresh Ford Focus RS. as well as also the man talking about the idea – driving the idea, 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, as well as also right today he’s flicking the automobile around the damp curves of the legendary ‘Track 7’ handling circuit at Ford’s Lommel proving ground. the idea looks like fun – a lot of fun, actually.
the automobile can be cornering flat as well as also fast, pulling with huge torque as well as also proper sports car pace down the short straights, as well as also sounding all growly as well as also interesting. in which much you don’t have to be inside the driver’s seat to tell. nevertheless watching Put’s measured inputs carefully, you can see – as well as also feel – exactly what he’s so chuffed about.
the automobile’s initial handling response as well as also lateral grip levels look considerable; David’s not having to do much at all to get the front wheels running towards apex after apex. nevertheless the idea’s what happens mid-corner, as he begins to feed power back in, in which actually surprises. There’s a modest nevertheless perceptible nudge via the outside rear wheel; a friendly little tweak of not just traction nevertheless handling impetus, generating the automobile both speed up as well as also turn in at the same time.
Where various other all-paw hatches would certainly be beginning to lose their poise, bothering their ESP as well as also running wide as the transmission sends drive first to the harder-working front wheels, the Focus stays neutral. as well as also then the idea begins to blend into power-on oversteer, as Put unwinds the steering angle as well as also applies a delicate correction.
Four-wheel-drive hot hatchbacks just don’t do in which – not in in 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, nevertheless what happens when you come back onto the pedal tends to be all very boring as well as also predictable.
in which – the idea would certainly seem via the passenger seat, at any rate, as well as also judging by both the smile on my co-driver’s face as well as also what the ‘seat of my pants’ can be telling me – can be a four-wheel-drive performance hatch in which you can accelerate into a powerslide – in which you can steer on the throttle, in various other words, like a proper rear-driver. Praise be.
My need to drive the fresh Focus RS only gets more urgent after in which revelation, nevertheless the idea isn’t going to be addressed today. We’re here for an advanced passenger-seat preview only – as well as also an up-close-as well as also-personal review on the engineering effort in 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 in which fresh hot Focus was in which the idea’d be four-wheel drive – just like its 1990s forebear, the memorable Escort RS Cosworth. in which was among the very first decisions taken by the Ford Performance engineering team, as well as also you can read all about the pioneering technology behind the drive system here.
We knew back at the Geneva motor show in which year in which the four-wheel drive system in question would certainly have a ‘drift’ mode – as well as also in which the idea would certainly therefore have to be something inherently more trick than the Haldex-coupled norm. We also knew in which the RS would certainly develop a formidable-sounding 345bhp.
What wasn’t known was in which Ford’s prototypes weren’t quite generating in which much power back then. The target has been achieved since, of course; the idea had to be. nevertheless using Ford’s 2.3-litre Ecoboost Mustang engine as a basis, the idea has taken a whole fresh Cosworth-milled cylinder head as well as also gasket, fresh cylinder liners, fresh induction as well as also exhaust systems, a completely fresh twin-scroll turbocharger as well as also the largest radiator in which could be squeezed into the front of the Focus’s engine bay to achieve the idea.
Ford freely admits in which its emphasis was on delivering the automobile to market for an outstanding cost as much as anything – as well as also in which some opportunities for saving weight have been passed up. So the automobile weighs a hefty 1599kg wet, including the EU’s mandatory 75kg for driver as well as also luggage. The four-wheel drive system contributes an undisclosed amount of mass compared with front-wheel drive.
A dual-clutch automatic gearbox would certainly have brought the 0-62mph sprint down a bit via where the idea currently sits (4.7sec), nevertheless would certainly also have added another 30kg to the automobile – not to mention four figures to the asking cost. Besides which, if you option the 19in forged wheels as well as also Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres on the automobile, the Focus RS can be considerably faster-accelerating than the maker’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 – nevertheless in order to deliver the rigidity required to handle the forces put through the rear end of the Focus, the idea’s been braced against the Centeng-in-white in three separate directions on each side.
Above in which, the automobile’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, in 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 via 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 started out out firmer than, say, a VW Golf R, nevertheless still entirely possible to live with. the idea ends up probably too firm for British B-roads nevertheless 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, as well as also 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 – nevertheless 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 in which extra help to get the automobile turned in,” explains our man.
via the passenger seat, the idea’s impossible to be certain about exactly how crisp in which turn-in actually can be as well as also how much adjusting of the RS’s cornering line can be done with your right foot – nevertheless the idea certainly seems to change quite a lot via mode to mode. In Track mode, Put can be using no corrective lock at all. nevertheless 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 – as well as also 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. the idea’s quite something to experience – not quite donut after lock-stop-hitting donut nevertheless equally, I suspect, something much more akin to the controllability as well as also rear-drive feeling you get via an Audi R8 than an RS3.
The impression stuck in my head as I climb out of the automobile can be one of what, I’m confident enough to predict, must be a remarkable-handling as well as also involving hot hatchback – one of Ford’s greatest yet. in which, as well as also the outline of several digits as well as also 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 as well as also, on very limited evidence, admittedly, less dynamically talented.
the idea’s 1600 confirmed UK orders as well as also 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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