2016 FORD FOCUS RS – Coming to the U.S.

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FordFocusRS_03In keeping with a long tradition of innovation and performance that dates back to the late 1960s, Ford Motor Company has announced the latest entry in their Rally Sport (RS) line. This time the RS package will be applied to an already popular third generation Ford Focus as part of a new era of Ford performance that promises to deliver a dozen new vehicles by 2020. “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 2016 Ford Focus RS will take advantage of an all-wheel drivetrain, Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control, and an improved version of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine producing well in excess of 315-horsepower to please driving enthusiasts and help deliver the company’s One Ford Plan for profitable growth, as well as product excellence and innovation in every part of its business.

FordFocusRS_04Featuring a dramatic exterior design that delivers improved downforce, engine cooling, and aerodynamic properties, the new Focus RS will be the thirtieth Ford model to wear the RS moniker. It will follow in the path of such trendsetters as the 1970 Escort RS 1600 (with a 16-valve cylinder head), the 1985 Sierra RS Cosworth (that boasted radical turbocharging and aerodynamics), and the 1992 Escort Cosworth RS (with all-wheel drive). “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,” he added.

FordFocusRS_05The new Focus RS, produced at Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany manufacturing plant, will be the first RS model available in all global markets (including the U.S.). Unlike performance models based on the Mustang, Thunderbird, and Fairmont platforms, the RS line was developed in Cologne, Germany, beginning with the Ford 15M RS, in 1968. In this spirit of European heritage, Ken Block (Gymkhana and World Rallycross star) was retained as a consultant with the Ford Performance Team.

In keeping with the One Ford Plan, the new Focus will utilize the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that is found in most Ford models. Key differences between the RS and other more timid Focus models include a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with a larger compressor (to deliver much greater airflow) and a monstrous intercooler to maximize air charge density, a less restrictive intake design, and a large bore exhaust system with an electronically controlled valve to optimize back pressure and reduce offensive noise. The cylinder head is produced using an advanced material capable of withstanding higher temperatures and the lightweight aluminum block is lined with stronger high-tensile cast iron. Engine cooling has been improved to meet the demands of both street and track driving by creating additional space for a larger radiator. The six-speed manual gearbox is equipped with a short throw racing shifter, an upgraded clutch, and stronger internal components to accommodate the increased horsepower and torque.

FordFocusRS_01A Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive System with Dynamic Torque Vectoring works hand-in-hand with the electronic stability and traction control system to ensure that the RS retains all of the traction available, automatically. A stiffer suspension system with high-performance springs, bushings, and anti-roll bars helps to straighten the curves and an electronically controlled power steering assist system works in combination with more rigid steering knuckles and shorter link arms to deliver more responsive steering. Electronically selectable suspension dampers allow the driver to choose between normal driving and stiffer track driving, at the push of a button. “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 Pilot Super Sport tires in 235/35ZR19 are standard equipment and (for the first time ever) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are offered for track use. A variety of multi-spoke alloy wheel designs are also offered, including a high-performance lightweight forged design, finished in low-gloss black.

*Photos courtesy of Ford Media Center*

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.