Ken Block Introduces 320-plus HP 2016 Focus RS
Gymkhana films superstar Ken Block Introduces 320-plus HP 2016 Ford Focus RS, which Ford unveiled today in Cologne, Germany. While the Focus RS has been a winner in Europe, Ford will now make the RS available globally, including the US, starting next year. Ford stated the Focus RS would pack the punch of “much more than 320 horsepower.”
This takes the 2.3L EcoBoost turbo engine to yet another level. A similar version of the engine produces 310 horsepower in the Ford Mustang. Another key feature is the all-wheel drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control, which uses two clutches to divert torque to the outer wheels during cornering to help the achieve over 1.0g of grip.
“The all-new Focus RS is a serious machine with high-performance technology and innovative engineering that sets a new benchmark for driving exhilaration on the road and track,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company. “The RS line has a proud history of technical breakthroughs that have migrated to mainstream Ford vehicles to benefit all of our customers, and the new Focus RS is no exception. It’s a great example of our passion for innovation through performance, and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound.”
The all-new Focus RS was developed by Ford Performance global engineers. Ford stated this will be the 30th car to wear the RS badging, following such technology trendsetters as the 1970 Escort RS1600 with 16 valves, 1985 Sierra RS Cosworth with turbocharging and radical aerodynamics and 1992 Escort RS Cosworth with four-wheel drive. All the innovation is not found under the hood. The RS is dressed with enhanced aerodynamics such as a unique front splitter and rear spoiler.
Sold globally, the Focus RS is built at Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany, manufacturing plant. “We are acutely aware of the benchmarks we have set ourselves with RS performance models through the years, and rest assured this new car raises the game to a new level,” said Jim Farley, president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“Just as important is the fact that with technologies such as EcoBoost, we are able to demonstrate how an innovation that powers almost every car in our range can also be the heartbeat of our finest performance cars,” added Farley. Not just a pretty face, Ken Block consulted on the all-new Focus RS, providing valuable feedback to the team. In addition, he presented the car at the press event in Cologne, Germany – where the RS legend was born with the Ford 15M RS in 1968.
“The all-new Focus RS exploits innovative new Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring to deliver a new level of handling capability and driver enjoyment, combining outstanding traction and grip with exciting agility and cornering speed,” said Ford. Ford’s AWD system utilizes 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 the side-to-side torque distribution on the rear axle – delivering the “torque vectoring” capability that has a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability. The control unit in the rear drive unit continuously varies the front/rear and side-to-side torque distribution to suit the current 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 at the rear axle can be sent to each rear wheel.”
This amazingly diverts torque to the outside rear wheel at lighting speed, and it does so depending on steering wheel inputs, lateral loads, plus yaw and speed of the vehicle. Ford states that, this torque transfer helps the driver rotate the car through a curve to enhance turn-in, stability, and balance. It also has the ability to control oversteer drifting! Owners will also find dual-mode switchable dampers, a tuned electric power-assisted steering, and a more rigid front suspension knuckle designed to produce outstanding feel.
“The Focus ST and Fiesta ST showed that we can achieve sporty steering feel with an electric power-assisted steering system, and the RS raises the bar,” said Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance. “We set out to provide drivers with steering that is very direct, precise and well balanced – and the RS delivers.” Michelin was tapped to develop Pilot Super Sport 235/35 R19 tires to complement the driving dynamics of the Focus RS, and the highly regarded Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (optional), designed for track use.
Ford increased power of the 2.3L EcoBoost engine with a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with larger compressor, combined with a much bigger intercooler. There’s also a better intake, and a large-bore high-performance exhaust system with an electronically controlled valve in the tailpipe that helps optimize the balance of backpressure and noise output. It also gives you that wickedly cool cackle and burble.
Ford ensures the engine will thrill with excellent low-end power with a powerful mid-range pull. We were shocked to see the rev limit at 6,800 rpm! The 2.3L engine is mated to a six-speed manual packed with a tidy, quick-shifting gear lever. Ford promises the powertain will also provide excellent economy.
The Focus RS will comfort and coddle front passengers, who’ll sit in bolstered partial-leather Recaro sports seats. The interior also gets a “simpler, more intuitive design.” As you would expect, SYNC will include audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones via voice control, and via a high-definition, 8-inch color touch screen. “SYNC 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.”
We think enthusiasts will also dig the flat-bottomed steering wheel with a soft-feel leather-covered rim, alloy pedals and unique instrument graphics within the main cluster. Nifty gauges display turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature, and oil pressure.
According to Ford, the Focus RS will be available in Nitrous Blue, a vibrant four-coat metallic finish exclusive to RS, as well as Stealth Gray, Absolute Black and Frozen White. The car revealed in Cologne features the same special Liquid Blue color scheme first seen on the all-new Ford GT revealed last month at the North American International Auto Show.