News: 2016 Focus RS Driving Modes

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Four Speed

Ford Performance reveals more about the Focus RS’ four driving modes

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company had a busy week at the Geneva Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland. Not only did they introduce Europe to the Ford GT and Mustang, but they offered the first public display of the Focus RS. The Ford Performance division offered up a cavalcade of the performance vehicles at the show as part of its new performance engineering push.

Ford Performance’s all-wheel-drive system uses two electronically actuated clutch packs on either side of the rear-drive unit to manage the front-to-rear and side-to-side torque distribution for enhanced handling. You can tweak the capabilities of this system via one of four drive modes.
Ford Performance’s all-wheel-drive system uses two electronically actuated clutch packs on either side of the rear-drive unit to manage the front-to-rear and side-to-side torque distribution for enhanced handling. You can tweak the capabilities of this system via one of four drive modes.

“The Ford Performance vehicle line-up on show in Geneva stretches from a compact hatch to a supercar, and with 12 models to come through 2020, this promises to be a vintage era for driving enthusiasts,” Jim Farley, Ford Motor Company executive vice president and president Europe, Middle East and Africa, said. “A passion for performance runs through our veins at Ford, and it’s our mission to make performance accessible to as many people as possible.”

Of course, the performance car with a long history in Europe is the vaunted Focus RS and the latest version is set to expand that lore across the world.

Available in Nitrous Blue, Stealth Gray, Shadow Black, Magnetic Grey and Frozen White, the new Focus RS is said to feature optimized aerodynamics that delivers 9 percent less drag than the previous Focus RS, and zero lift at speed.
Available in Nitrous Blue, Stealth Gray, Shadow Black, Magnetic Grey and Frozen White, the new Focus RS is said to feature optimized aerodynamics that delivers 9 percent less drag than the previous Focus RS, and zero lift at speed.

“The all-new Focus RS is a serious machine with high-performance technology and innovative engineering that sets new benchmarks for driving exhilaration on the road and track,” Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company, said. “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.”

The company even had consultant and Gymkhana superstar Ken Block on hand to talk about the car and how important he believes the all-wheel drive system is to the car.

“This AWD system is a breakthrough technology, capable of delivering supreme cornering and handling at the limit,” Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance, said. “We have ripped up the rulebook which says that AWD hatchbacks cannot be fun to drive, and have created a car which will surprise and reward in equal measure.”

You can check out some highlights from the performance portion of Ford’s Geneva press conference here…

Those buttons to the left of the gear level allow you to adjust the electronic stability control via the four pre-programmed drive modes, including Normal, Sport, Track, and Drift Mode.
Those buttons to the left of the gear lever allow you to adjust the electronic stability control via the four pre-programmed drive modes, including Normal, Sport, Track, and Drift Mode.

Making the most of the Focus RS’ 320 horsepower and all-wheel-drive system are four driver modes Normal, Sport, Track, or Drift Mode. That’s right, thanks to Ken Block’s antics in the car around the time of its reveal we knew you could drift the RS if you had the skills. However, you can toggle between the modes with buttons next to the gear lever. The effects of the other modes are familiar to Mustang drivers, but engaging the Drift mode alters the torque distribution to allow for controlled oversteer.

For a bit more on the Focus RS and its capabilities, including Drift mode, check out this video…

With the power and handling capabilities offered by the Focus RS, you are going to need a supportive seat to hold you in place in the corners. Fortunately, the car is available with these sexy Recaro sport seats.
With the power and handling capabilities offered by the Focus RS, you are going to need a supportive seat to hold you in place in the corners. Fortunately, the car is available with these sexy Recaro sport seats.

“This is the ultimate Focus—stunning to look at, and entirely fit for purpose,” Joel Piaskowski, director, Design, Ford of Europe, said. “RS models have always been striking, high-performance cars where function is paramount. This new Focus RS is true to that heritage.”

The Focus RS even has launch control, like a Mustang, which will tweak the all-wheel-drive and stability control to get your Focus launched like a pro.

“The all-new Focus RS is true to the core RS principles of innovative engineering and high performance. Driving enthusiasts have always aspired to own RS vehicles, and this is a heritage that inspires everyone within Ford,” Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe, added.

The RS is certainly exciting, but Ford really rolled out the red carpet to the European market in Geneva, and if you want to see the full press conference it is available right here…

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