Ford focuses on the RS

  • 28-Jul-2008 10:42 EDT
Ford Focus RS 040708-b-for.jpg

Ford's new Focus RS takes its performance inspiration from racing and looks the part—and technology includes new chassis sophistication.

A team of specialist engineers working under the direction of Jost Capito, Ford of Europe Performance Vehicles’ Line Director, created the new Focus RS that made its public debut at the 2008 British International Motor Show in London in July. The car unveiled was a near-production-ready example. Deliveries start in early 2009.

Its turbocharged 2.5-L five-cylinder engine produces 221 kW (296 hp) and drives only the front wheels. Ford regards the use of a Quaife automatic torque-sensing limited-slip differential working with a new suspension system it calls the RevoKnuckle as being sufficient to avoid the need for all-wheel drive. The system was developed for the RS application at the company’s Aachen, Germany, Advanced Research Center.

RevoKnuckle allows use of MacPherson struts but with geometry settings that minimize steering disturbances and torque steer, principally a reduction in steering offset, stated the company. The strut fits into the knuckle. The result is a less costly system than using double wishbones. Renault already fits a similar system to control torque steer on the Megane Renaultsport.

Considerable weight should have been saved by not fitting all-wheel drive to the RS, but the company has not yet released total vehicle figures. Performance is likely to include a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of less than six seconds.

The RS’s Duratec engine produces 410 N·m (302 lb·ft) and, compared to its installation in the Focus ST, gets a larger turbocharger, special camshafts, plus revised cylinder head, intake, and exhaust manifold. The gearbox is joint venture Ford and Getrag six-speed manual with short-throw shift.

The car has distinctive body styling, including a rear bumper with a large venturi tunnel and a twin-element rear spoiler positioned at the trailing edge of the roof. The front end incorporates a large air dam designed to substantially reduce lift, and the hood is louvered. Wheels are 19-in units. The interior includes Recaro sports seats.

The Focus RS will be built at Ford’s Saarlouis plant in Germany.

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