Some people find it really hard to keep a secret, and it looks like Jost Capito and the Ford marketing team fit into that category. Even though the car was due to be unveiled to the public at the British Motor Show on July 22nd, Ford have released official pictures and mechanical details of the 2009 Ford Focus RS.
So, other than some quality pictures what’s new? Well, for a start the output of the Focus RS is now being quoted as 300PS (297bhp), although that figure could still go up as the techies tinker with the chassis settings and see how much power it can really take.
Also new is some information on the method through which the Focus RS will try to apply all of that power through just the front wheels. As with the previous Focus RS, the 2009 model will use a Quaife Automatic Torque-Biasing limited-slip differential to contain the power and make sure it’s applied smoothly. However, the old model had a reputation for torque-steer on anything other than the smoothest tarmac, so in addition to the diff Ford have also used a device called a ‘RevoKnuckle’.
Part of the front suspension, this is a new device that works with the diff to reduce unwanted steering disturbances and further reduce torque-steer. In Nurburgring testing the RevoKnuckle has proven to be so effective that it has allowed power to be increased from around 280PS to the current 300PS.
The turbocharged 2.5-litre engine, carried over from the Focus STbut significntly modified, will also provide 302lb-ft of torque to give the Focus RS fantastic performance, with a 0-60mph expected to be under six seconds. In order to squeeze out so much more power than the ST, the RS’s engine has received unique camshafts, a modified cylinder head and gasket, revised intake and exhaust manifolds, a tuned engine management system and increased turbo boost pressure.
‘The Ford Focus is an excellent base for a high performance car – agile, responsive and stable. We studied at length how best to enhance these qualities for a high performance model.
‘Our work has shown clearly that our approach in combining a tuned RevoKnuckle with the Quaife differential is an ideal solution for a high performance front-wheel-drive road car like Focus RS. As you would expect, we gave all-wheel-drive careful consideration, but by combining and tuning these elements and learning from Ford’s expertise in industry-leading handling, we have managed to eliminate the weight of AWD from the car and still have been able to target a class-leading balance of traction, handling and performance.
‘The result is a lightweight set-up, that will deliver the right blend of traction and razor sharp controllability – in a way no one would have expected from front-wheel-drive, and we believe we have made the right choice.’ – Jost Capito, Ford of Europe’s Vehicle Line Director for Performance Vehicles
Visually the new Focus RS is not going to be mistaken for a bog-standard Focus LX. With widened wheel-arches to cover a 40mm wider track, bonnet louvres, side vents, enormous front airdam, and 19-inch wheels hiding brake discs of 336mm (front) and 300mm (rear), there’s no mistaking that the Focus RS means business.
Hopefully there’ll be some official performance figures by the time of the car’s unveiling later in the month, but one thing is for sure – the Ford Focus RS will be somewhere at the top of the hot hatch food chain!