2016 Ford Focus RS previewed

2016 Ford Focus RS

Ford has given us a preview of its third generation Focus RS. It goes into production later this year and will be built in Germany. And, yes, it is coming to Australia!

The all-new Focus RS will be powered by a 2.3 litre EcoBoost engine pumping out “well in excess of 320PS”. That’s 235kW in modern lingo.

All that power to the front wheels will be a bt stupid won’t it? Well, yes, it appears Ford’s engineers have given up trying to tame big horsepower front-wheel drive hot hatches. This time the Focus RS will boast an all-wheel drive system. But not just any old AWD system, no, this one will be special, Ford claims. It’s best to just go straight to their press guff:

The Ford Performance AWD system is based on twin electronically-controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit. These manage the car’s front/rear torque split, and also can control the side-to-side torque distribution on the rear axle – delivering the “torque vectoring” capability, which 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 per cent of the drive torque can be diverted to the rear axle. Up to 100 per cent of the available torque at the rear axle can be sent to each rear wheel.

“This AWD system is a breakthrough technology, capable of delivering supreme cornering and handling at the limit,” said Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance. “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.”

The new Focus RS will officially debut in Geneva next month.


Ford Focus ST gets 184kW after being hit by the ugly stick

Ford Focus ST

Ford has released a few images of the new Focus ST ahead of its public reveal Paris Motor Show. The ST will complete the Focus line up on the stands in Paris, making it the first time all varitations of the next generation C segment platform car have been seen in the one place.

With this new hot hatch ST version Ford has certainly got one thing right, the power. There will be 250PS (184kW) on offer from a 2.0 litre turbocharged four cylinder. The lack of a five pot engine will force the XR marketing team at Ford Australia to scratch their heads – the current Focus ST is called an XR5 here. The XR4 name plate has been used for the Fiesta. Maybe sanity will prevail and we’ll get the call it the ST like everyone else on the planet.

Sadly, however, Ford got one thing horribly wrong, the looks. Perhaps that face won’t look as sad and shark-like in person. In pictures, it’s simply diabolical. Even the official name for the paint colour you see above is in on the act – “Tangerine Scream”.

Anyway, Ford hopes the new ST can become a global hot hatch player and it will go on sale around the world in early 2012. That’s some lead time, given the show car will make its debut more than 12 months ahead of the sales launch.


A closer look at the 2011 Ford Focus

2011 Ford Focus

It’s now a couple of weeks since Ford presented the 2011 Focus at the Detroit Auto Show. With the dust settled, let’s take a closer look at the funky sheet metal carving a new direction for Ford. They call it “kinetic design” and there’s a real hint of Chris Bangle flame surface going on. Not that this is entirely new, as the current Fiesta is also cut from the same cloth.

Look closely at the pic above and the way the rear light cluster extends towards the front of the car. At first glance it looks okay, but picture it on a silver or light coloured car. Is that forward extension going to look just a bit too much?

The fuel cap slotting in underneath is also an interesting solution. Again, at first glance it’s a nice way to tuck the lid away. But would a more conventional round lid, as shown on the Focus sedan, have been a better result? Is “kinetic design” trying a bit too hard?

In the last image below, which shows the sedan version from the rear three-quarter angle you get a great look at the creases extending over the wheel arches and the shoulder line along the doors. In theory, the way they run past each other simply shouldn’t work. Maybe it’s the choice of the silver paint and the studio lighting, but there’s something pleasing about the craziness going on there.

The new Focus and the “ONE Ford” global car platform strategy holds great hope for the US carmaker. Despite some reservations I think thew new Focus is a good step forward (on the outside at least). But will this bold new direction pay the required dividends?


Focus XR5 facelift seen in Melbourne

The new and updated Ford Focus has not yet been released, but it has been spotted and photographed on Melbourne’s streets. See Car Advice for more.