Latest Focus RS is packed full of technology

The third-generation Ford Focus RS has been previewed ahead of its official reveal at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year.

Forming part of the Ford performance plan, which aims for 12 new performance vehicles by 2020 (and includes the resurrected Ford GT), the Focus RS will be available in ‘all major markets’ for the first time.

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It will be powered by an all-aluminium twin-scroll turbocharged 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that is said to generate in excess of 235kW (320 PS) and rev to 6800rpm, with ‘distinctive’ burbles, pops and crackles providing aural delight. All-wheel drive will also be adopted for the first time in Focus RS history. Other tech includes a dynamic torque vectoring system to ensure total traction. Thankfully, a six-speed manual gearbox is the sole transmission option.

Ford’s Performance AWD uses two electronically-controlled clutch packs on either side of the rear-drive control unit. In addition to managing the front-to-rear drive split, the packs can proportion drive across the axle for a torque vectoring effect. The control unit offers continuously variable drive split from front-to-rear and side-to-side, using a brace of sensors to monitor traction at the rate of 100 times per second. A maximum of 70 per cent torque can be distributed rearwards, with 100 per cent of torque available to either rear wheel should it be required.

This sophisticated system senses when the Focus RS is cornering and pre-emptively sends torque to the outer-rear wheel, pointing the nose into the corner’s apex and generating in excess of 1 g lateral cornering capability.

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A specific suspension tune augments the all-wheel drive system’s capabilities, with firmer springs, bushes and anti-roll bars over the Focus ST. Two-mode switchable dampers offer additional adjustment and tuned electric steering all combine for sharper cornering effect.

Michelin has been chosen as tyre partner, providing 235/35/19 Pilot Super Sport rubber. Optional Pilot Sport Cup 2s will be perfect for those focused on tracking their Focus RS.

Externally the front splitter, rear spoiler and underbody work to eliminate lift, the Focus RS said to deliver balanced aero performance with zero lift.

The interior matches the motorsport bent, with partial-leather Recaros cosseting driver and passenger. Shell Recaros will be optionally available in Euro and Japanese markets. Alloy foot pedals and a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel offer honed control surfaces, while the centre console gauges display oil temperature, oil pressure and turbocharger boost levels.

“The RS line has a proud history of technical breakthroughs that have migrated to mainstream Fords 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,” said Raj Nair, group vice president of product development at the preview, where he was accompanied by rally and Gymkhana star Ken Block.

The Focus RS will be the 30th Ford vehicle to wear the iconic badge, which debuted on the rump of the Taunus 15M RS back in 1968. Built exclusively in the Saarlouis plant in Germany, production of the Focus RS is expected to commence late in 2015.

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From childhood stories of my Dad's Phase 2 XW GT-HO, I have always loved cars. That passion was nurtured via epic road trip stories read in magazines, undertaken in wonderfully evocative machinery. It was inspirational, and there was no longer a choice: I was going to make a career in motoring journalism. At Trailing Throttle, we want to recreate that feeling of behind-the-wheel immersion. We hope you enjoy the ride.