STYLISH POWER: The new Ford Focus RS - 240kW+ and the awesome stability benefit of all-wheel drive and positive torque steering. Image: Newspress / Ford *We inadvertently used a pic of a blue Lexus earlier - sorry guys!
• Ford previews hatchback pioneeringThe Focus RS - equipped with a special 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine engineered to produce well in excess of 240kW - is the latest vehicle to be unveiled as part of a new era that will bring more than a dozen new vehicles to global customers by 2020.
• RS features dynamic torque vectoring
• EcoBoost engine developed for RS
COLOGNE, Germany - Ford has previewed the all-new - and now all-wheel drive - Ford Focus RS that's due in South Africa in the first half of 2016.
The AWD system is based on twin electronically-controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit. These manage the car's front/rear torque split and can control at up to 100 times a second the side-to-side torque distribution on the rear axle - delivering the "torque vectoring" capability, which has a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability.
Ford says that, in addition to pleasing enthusiasts, these vehicles will help to "deliver the company's One Ford plan for profitable growth, product excellence and innovation in every part of its business.".
Group vice-president for global product development, Raj Nair, said: "The all-new RS is a serious machine with high-performance technology and innovative engineering that sets a benchmark for driving exhilaration on road or track. It has a proud history of technical breakthroughs that have migrated to mainstream Fords to benefit all our customers.
"The new Focus RS is no exception... it's a great example of our passion for innovation through performance."
This the third generation of the RS was developed by a small team of engineers in Europe and the US; its predecessors were launched in 2002 and 2009. However it will be the 30th car to wear the RS badge: others include tech trendsetters such as the quad-valve 1970 Escort RS1600, the turbocharged Sierra RS Cosworth of 1985 with its radical aerodynamics, and the all-wheel-drive 1992 Escort RS Cosworth.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Ford Focus RS
Sporting a dramatic exterior design that delivers enhanced aerodynamics and cooling, Ford says the Focus RS offers technologies new to the marque including the Ford SYNC connectivity system.
The all-new Focus RS is the first model that will be sold globally and will be produced for all markets at Ford's Saarlouis plant in Germany.
The Focus RS exploits all-wheel-drive with dynamic torque vectoring to deliver a new level of handling and driver enjoyment, "combining outstanding traction and grip with unmatched agility and cornering speed".
A maximum of 70% of torque can be diverted to the rear axle or up to 100% of the available torque at the rear axle can be sent to each rear wheel.
Ford says other exclusive chassis features include sports suspension, anti-roll bars - all of which are stiffer than those found in the Focus ST - and two-mode switchable soch-absorbers which offer a firmer setting for track driving. A carefully tuned electric power-assisted steering system, working with a more rigid front suspension knuckle design and shorter link arms, delivers connected and responsive steering with outstanding feel.
LEVELS OF POWER
Engineers, Ford says, worked closely with Michelin to develop a choice of high-performance 235/35 R19 tyres to complement the driving dynamics of the Focus RS; a standard Pilot Super Sport tyre for everyday use and - for the first time on an RS - an optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyre for enhanced vehicle dynamics on the track.
The vehicle's exterior design has also been developed to support the dynamic objectives. Careful aerodynamic optimisation of the front splitter, rear spoiler and underbody features eliminates lift forces, and Ford says the final design delivers a balanced performance with zero lift front and rear for optimum high-speed handling and stability.
EcoBoost technology powers the Focus RS and nearly every new vehicle. The specially engineered 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine has levels of power and torque that translate into impressive acceleration when combined with the exceptional AWD traction.
Projected to deliver well in excess of 320 PS, the bespoke unit shares its fundamental structure with the all-aluminium four-cylinder 2.3-litre engine in the all-new Mustang. This engine has, however, been significantly upgraded through a comprehensive package of design changes.
Increased output is generated by a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with larger compressor that delivers significantly greater air flow, along with a much bigger intercooler to maximise charge density. Engine breathing also is enhanced through a less restrictive intake design, and a large-bore high performance exhaust system with an electronically controlled valve in the tailpipe that helps optimise the balance of back pressure and noise output.
The cylinder head is produced from an upgraded alloy material capable of withstanding higher temperatures, and is mounted on a more robust head gasket with improved thermal capability. The cylinder block employs stronger high-tensile cast iron liners.
Engine cooling also has been given the highest priority, with engineers creating additional space within the front of the vehicle to house a significantly larger radiator pack - the biggest ever fitted to a Focus - that provides the level of cooling demanded for hard circuit use.
The six-speed manual transmission has been optimised with a shorter gear lever to deliver faster and more accurate shifts. Both the transmission and the clutch have been upgraded with stronger components to cope with the engine's increased torque output.
With its high-efficiency EcoBoost design featuring direct fuel injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing and advanced turbocharging, the engine also delivers significantly improved fuel consumption. With Auto-Start-Stop fitted as standard, preliminary figures indicate that CO2 emissions will be significantly reduced compared with the previous model.
NEW FRONT END
The Focus RS exterior design is both dramatic and functional, with a more powerful and muscular character. Designers worked closely with Ford Performance to ensure that the necessary functional attributes were achieved, focusing 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, in Europe and Asia, 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.Four striking exterior colours include blue, grey, black and white
The dynamic side-profile is emphasised by sculptured rocker panels, and the bold wheel lips that house a choice of multi-spoke 19-inch RS alloy wheels - including a high-performance lightweight forged design finished in low-gloss black, which offers enhanced strength and impact resistance with weight savings of 1 kg per wheel.
Standard Bi-Xenon HID headlamps offer 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. Customers also can specify the latest Active City Stop automatic braking technology which operates at speeds of up to 50 km/h.
The high-performance character of the RS is reflected inside the car with heavily-bolstered partial-leather Recaro sports seats as the centrepiece. Signature RS Recaro shell seats, with authentic motorsport microfibre fabric panels, are an option for customers in Europe and Asia.
Blue, a vibrant four-coat metallic finish exclusive to the RS, as well as Stealth Grey, Absolute Black and Frozen White.