In a continuation from we open Part 2 with Ford sharing with MotorMartin a little more of the technology present in the all new RS Focus.

Advanced performance technologies

Ford have spent a long time making sure that the Focus RS offers advanced performance and driver assistance technologies to help ensure that its extreme driving capabilities are accessible to drivers of all skill levels. Thank goodness.

The driver can select from four different Drive Modes to configure the vehicle to deliver optimum performance in a range of driving conditions – with Normal or Sport settings for on-road driving, and Track or a special Drift Mode for circuit use only.

Each mode can be selected using a carefully-located switch alongside the gear lever, and has specific settings for the AWD system, damper controls, Electronic Stability Control system, steering and engine responses, and exhaust valve.

The industry-first Drift Mode features a specially developed calibration for the AWD system that modifies the torque distribution to help the driver achieve controlled oversteer drifts under circuit conditions. Both damper and steering settings are set to normal, providing enhanced control through smoother load transfers and lighter steering inputs.

For ultimate performance off the start-line, Launch Control configures the vehicle’s chassis and powertrain systems to deliver the fastest possible acceleration, whatever the track conditions. The driver selects Launch Control from the cluster menu, engages first gear, applies full throttle and then releases the clutch. The vehicle then delivers optimum drive – including distributing torque through the AWD system, maintaining maximum torque using turbo overboost function, managing the traction control system, and setting the dampers.

To complement all of the above and designed specifically to achieve maximum acceleration through the gears, a Performance Shift Light in the instrument cluster alerts the driver when approaching the optimum upshift point of 5,900 rpm, and flashes if the engine hits the limit of 6,800 rpm.

As we all know, the secret to fast, safe, driving, is not just about having the maximum number of horses rampaging under the bonnet but also the brakes must have the feel and ability with which to rapidly scrub off speed. Ford have considered this from the off meaning that, for enhanced braking during hard track driving, the all-new Focus RS features the most powerful brake system ever fitted to an RS model, with 350 mm ventilated front discs and aluminium Brembo four-piston monoblock callipers – painted in distinctive RS blue with a Brembo logo available as an option. The lightweight callipers contribute to a weight saving of 4.3 kg per wheel compared to the smaller 336 mm discs on the previous Focus RS. Crikey.

To help avoid brake fade even under sustained track use, brake cooling has been maximised through dedicated cooling ducts fed from the front fascia, twin “jet tunnels” in the underbody, and airflow guides on the lower suspension arms. The front discs feature aerodynamically optimised ventilation fins for enhanced cooling.


High-performance EcoBoost powertrain specially engineered for RS

The new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine for the all-new Focus RS shares its fundamental structure with the all-aluminium four-cylinder engine in the all-new Ford Mustang. The engine has been significantly upgraded for the Focus RS to deliver 10 per cent more power with a maximum output of 350 PS, which should be more than enough for most.

The RS Team have managed to increase output significantly by using a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with a larger compressor that delivers significantly greater airflow, 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.

To fully take advantage of the changes above, the cylinder head is produced from an upgraded alloy material capable of withstanding higher temperatures, while the cylinder block employs stronger high-tensile cast iron liners.

Engine cooling also has been given the highest priority as an engine that overheats, loses power, 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 intense circuit driving.

Meticulous calibration work has ensured that the power unit delivers excellent low-end responsiveness with a powerful mid-range pull, while offering enthusiasts an exciting character and making the engine rewarding to rev up to the redline. After all, despite all of the amazing technology, the way the improvements have been designed to get the maximum from each change and the attention to detail of the whole, it’s important to remember that this is still predominantly a road car. The changes will, of course, give the all new Ford Focus RS a different feel and ahem Focus to the more standard editions but, and here’s the really clever bit, it should still feel like a Focus and retain the practical aspects of the Style, Zetec and Titanium models. Can you have your cake and eat it? Ford certainly seem to think so.

Maximum torque of 440 Nm is delivered between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm, with 470 Nm available for up to 15 seconds on transient overboost during hard acceleration. In-gear performance is quicker than the previous Focus RS, with 50-100 km/h (31-62 mph) in 4th gear achieved in 5.0 seconds, a reduction of 0.4 seconds and don’t forget, this is a car that 5 adults can sit in in relative comfort.

Inspiring performance demands an inspiring soundtrack. Ford Performance engineers have tuned the RS exhaust system to deliver a rewarding and sporty sound character during spirited driving, and developed a unique injection calibration in Sport Mode to provide the distinctive burbles and pops that are a signature of RS models.

Sharing with MotorMartin, Ford said that, “This very special 2.3-litre EcoBoost unit will inspire drivers as they feel the surge of the turbo, and reward them as they take it to the red line – all delivered with a visceral sound guaranteed to put a smile on your face,” added Pericak.

The EcoBoost power unit is manufactured at the Valencia Engine Plant in Spain, where every single engine is subjected to a rigorous ‘listening test’ at the end of the production line. After completing an automated test cycle, specially trained employees run the engines to ensure they are performing perfectly, listening for tell-tale noises that might indicate a possible defect that machines and computers cannot easily identify.

The six-speed manual transmission in the Focus RS has been optimised for the enthusiast driver with a shorter gear lever and revised mechanism 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. It’s the details like the shorter gear lever that will make this RS as a driver’s car. MotorMartin always pays close attention to the items in a car that you will spend most time touching and moving etc. As It’s items such as the gear lever and steering wheel that provide you with the connection to the car that you are driving it’s extremely important that they feel right for the car and the driver.

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, the new model achieves CO2 emissions of 175 g/km,* a 22 per cent reduction compared to the previous model. Even though this Focus is the highest of high performance models, Ford have still managed to deliver an engine that will provide a decent return at the fuel pumps and tax of around £205.00. Certainly not outrageous when considering the amount of power on offer. Ford clearly wanted their latest RS to have ‘real life’ in mind from the start.


High-performance design for stunning looks with optimum function

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.

“This is the ultimate Focus – stunning to look at, and entirely fit for purpose,” said Joel Piaskowski, director, Design, Ford of Europe before continuing, “RS models have always been striking, high-performance cars where function is paramount. This new Focus RS is true to that heritage.” He’s not wrong either, just look at the details shown in the attached pictures, there’s so much going on, yet the whole appears integrated and cohesive. It’s a car that when parked up on your drive, you’d spdnd most of your time glancing back and noticing new details, creases and curves.

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.

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 that offers enhanced strength and impact resistance with weight savings of 950 g per wheel. Five striking exterior colours include Nitrous Blue, a vibrant four-coat metallic finish exclusive to the RS, as well as Stealth Grey, Shadow Black, Magnetic Grey and Frozen White.

Standard Bi-Xenon HID headlamps feature 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 (31 mph).


Ford have made sure that the high-performance character of the RS is reflected inside the car with heavily-bolstered partial-leather Recaro sports seats as the centrepiece of the cockpit. Signature RS Recaro shell seats, with authentic motorsport microfibre fabric panels, are an option for customers in Europe and Asia.

The interior features the redesigned Focus control layout with its simpler, more intuitive design and so will be familiar to so many of us. SYNC 2 connectivity provides access to audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones via voice control, and via a high-definition, 8-inch colour touchscreen. Simple voice commands such as “Find a race track” enable RS owners to get instant directions to the nearest public circuit. SYNC 2 also can be specified with Rear View Camera with park distance control, as well as a Sony premium sound system with 10-speakers including a subwoofer. Despite buying a barely concealed racer for the road Ford have pulled of that cleverest of tricks of making sure that the Focus continues to be a practical car for the road, rather than one that only makes sense on the track.

The RS driving experience is reinforced by a new flat-bottomed steering wheel with a soft-feel leather covered rim, alloy foot pedals, and unique instrument graphics within the main cluster. An additional bank of gauges above the centre console displays turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure.

Throughout the cabin, the distinctive blue RS theme is echoed through stitching on the seats, steering wheel, floor mats and interior trim, the coloured graphic on the gear shifter, and via the RS logo itself, which is proudly displayed on the seats, steering wheel and door scuff plates. There’s no danger of forgetting what you’re driving then!

Developed by a small team of Ford Performance engineers in Europe and U.S., the new Focus RS is the third generation of Focus RS cars, following models launched in 2002 and 2009. It will be the 30th car to wear the legendary RS badge, following such technology trendsetters as the 16-valve 1970 Escort RS1600, the turbocharged Sierra RS Cosworth of 1985 with its radical aerodynamics, and the four-wheel-drive 1992 Escort RS Cosworth.

If you want to get a feeling of the history behind the RS badge and why Ford have put quite so much effort into producing such an outstanding motor car then this excellent film from Gates Ford in Essex should bring you right up to date.

It just remains to say a massive MotorMartin well done to Ford and the Team behind the RS Focus on delivering a car that measures up against the RS of old whilst forging a new, reinvigorated future for the badge.

Where will you go?

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