Compact Performance: 2016 Ford Focus RS hatchback

The all-new Ford Focus RS introduces advanced performance technologies for the ultimate hot hatch experience. The new Ford performance hatchback pioneers innovative Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring, industry-first drift mode and additional drive modes for thrilling performance and unbridled driving enjoyment for enthusiasts in North America for the first time.

The third-generation high-performance hatch features a 2.3L EcoBoost® four-cylinder engine delivering over 300 horsepower, along with the most powerful Ford RS braking system ever. Its dramatic exterior design offers optimized aerodynamics and cooling, with nine percent less drag over the previous model. Torque is delivered to the wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox that has been optimized for the enthusiast driver with a shorter gear shift and revised mechanism to deliver faster, more accurate shifts. Both transmission and clutch are upgraded with stronger components to cope with the engine’s increased torque output.

The Focus RS leverages innovative Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring to deliver a new level of handling capability and driver enjoyment – combining outstanding traction with unmatched agility and cornering speed. The system is based on electronically controlled twin clutch packs on each side of the rear-drive unit. The control unit continuously varies front-to-rear and side-to-side torque distribution to suit the driving situation – monitoring inputs from multiple vehicle sensors 100 times per second. A maximum of 70 percent of the drive torque can be diverted to the rear axle. Up to 100 percent of available torque can be sent to each rear wheel delivering the torque-vectoring capability that has a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability.

In cornering situations, the rear-drive unit preemptively diverts torque to the outer rear wheel based on steering wheel angle, lateral acceleration, yaw and speed. This torque transfer has the effect of “driving” the car into a bend – achieving improved turn-in and stability while virtually eliminating understeer. The system is tuned to deliver exceptional grip – with lateral acceleration exceeding 1 g – along with exciting cornering speed and acceleration out of a bend. With neutral and adjustable at-limit handling and the ability to achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track, Focus RS delivers the ultimate fun-to-drive experience.

To deliver optimum driving dynamics, Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive is calibrated alongside the car’s advanced Electronic Stability Control, in particular, the brake-based torque-vectoring system that works in parallel with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.

Other exclusive chassis features include a sport suspension with stiffer spring rates and more efficient bushes and anti-roll bars than those found in Focus ST, and two-mode switchable dampers, which offer a firmer setting for track use. Specially tuned electric power-assisted steering, in combination with an optimized front suspension knuckle design and shorter link arms delivers connected and responsive steering with outstanding feel.

Ford worked with tire-maker Michelin to develop a choice of high-performance 235/35R-19 tires to complement the driving dynamics Focus RS offers – a standard Pilot Super Sport for everyday use and, for the first time, an optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 for enhanced dynamics at the track.

Inside the passenger cabin, the Focus RS offers advanced performance and driver-assist technologies to help ensure its extreme driving capabilities are accessible and easy to use. The driver can select from four different drive modes to configure the car for optimum performance in road or circuit driving conditions – normal, sport, track and a special drift mode. The high-performance character is reflected in the cockpit, with heavily bolstered, partial-leather Recaro sport seats as the centerpiece. A soft-feel flat-bottomed steering wheel, leather-covered rim, alloy pedals and unique instrument graphics in the main cluster reinforce the performance character. Gauges atop the center console display turbo boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure.

The distinctive blue RS theme is echoed throughout the cabin in the stitching on the seats, steering wheel, floor mats, interior trim, colored graphic on the gear shift and in the RS logo itself on the seats, steering wheel and door scuff plates. The interior features the redesigned Focus control layout, with an eight-inch capacitive touch screen featuring SYNC® 3 voice connectivity for audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones.

Ken Chester, Jr. is President & CEO of Motor News Media Corporation – an automotive news service founded in 1989 as The AutoBuyer Plus Corporation. Featured on numerous television and radio programs, viewers, listeners and readers alike relate to Ken's friendly manner and wealth of information about the many vehicles currently for sale in today's complex automotive marketplace.

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