The new Ford Focus is setting a cat amongst the pigeons of the automotive world. It’s upped the power, upped the ferocity, and gone 4WD to put all the power down from its 2.3-litre turbocharged 4-pot. But Ford has been tight-lipped on the RS’ specs, only saying it’ll have “in excess of 235kW” and that drivers will be able to “perform controlled drifts”. This past week in Geneva though, Ford released a little bit more info on the super-hatch – including the fact that it will have a ‘Drift Mode’. They actually called it that, Drift Mode!
It’ll feature launch control too – one of the many modes in the RS, which will be the first ever Focus RS to feature multiple modes (Normal, Sport, Track, and Drift). With Ken Block on board as a test driver for development, the Focus RS would naturally be sideways inclined – but the decision to add a Drift Mode is a big one. The company has been coy on how exactly this will work, but we reckon the GKN Driveline-based 4WD system will apportion a higher amount of torque to the rear in this mode (a maximum of 70% of the torque can go rearwards, with up to 100% of that reaching each rear wheel). The 4WD system will also feature ‘Dynamic Torque Vectoring’ which will apportion more torque to the outer rear wheel in addition to applying brakes to individual wheels.
The Ford Focus RS will feature electronic power assisted steering (EPAS) as per the Focus and Fiesta ST models, but with a quicker rack and more direct responses to steering inputs. Keeping the Focus RS glued to the tarmac, Ford has equipped standard Pilot Super Sport tyres, 235/35 R19 in profile, with an option of super-sticky Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres for enhanced track driving. In combination with aerodynamic optimisation to reduce lift, the Focus RS should prove to be a rather grippy machine – until you engage Drift Mode. Stopping power should also be pretty potent, as the wheels house 350mm ventilated front discs with Brembo four-piston calipers.
Engine details are still being kept relatively mum; although Ford claim the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine has been reworked from its application in the Mustang and now breathes freer, features a lower inertia turbocharger, and a free-revving nature – redlining at 6800rpm.
The gauntlet has been laid. Ford’s gunning for the big dogs, and may well succeed. Whilst the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG has more power, as will the Audi RS3, the Subaru WRX STI is firmly in Ford’s crosshairs as the AWD track tool to be beaten.