2016 Ford Focus RS Drift Mode Explained: How Sideways Can You Go?

The Blue Oval once said they could gift the Focus RS with all-wheel drive, but it wouldn't make financial sense. However, that was back in the days of the MK II Focus and now with the global Ford Performance offensive, the Mk III Focus RS can play the AWD game.
2016 Ford Focus RS Drift Mode in action 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
The 350 hp manic hatch even comes with a feature aimed at making up for all the waiting, namely a Drift Mode. While the driver gets to play with a Drift button, the magic lies in the all-wheel drive magic under the car, which is supplied by GKN engineering.

If the name Twinster sounds familiar, it's not because of a typo, but probably thanks to the fact that we've already seen the system at work on cars such as the Range Rover Evoque.

Nonetheless, as GKN explains for Car Magazine, the system gained a shenanigan-friendly feature for Ford - torque vectoring.

First of all, we have to explain the hardware has said "no" to differentials, employing a pair of electronically-controlled clutch packs. These are packed on the sides of what is called a Rear Drive Unit.

The first clutch pack feeds the rear axle with power and can deliver as much as 70 percent of the torque to the rear. As for its brother, this splits the power between the rear wheels.

More and more carmakers introduce braking-based torque vectoring nowadays, with the inside wheel being slowed down during a bend, the system used here is more effective. That's because up to 100 percent of the rear power can be sent to the wheel on the outside of the corner.

‘[In the Ford] if you’re going into a turn and you really want to have the vehicle’s rear end sliding into oversteer, what the system does is to send more torque and speed to the outside rear wheel to get that effect,’ Ray Kuczera, GKN’s vice president of global product technology told the aforementioned source. ‘And that’s before you press the drift button.’

As a result, switching from Normal to Drift Mode will push your slip angles from decent to "whoa!".

Sure, you can disable the electronics on many cars and slide the hell out of that rear end. Nevertheless, another clever move of the Rs is that this car made sure the Twinster, the ESC and the ABS work as a theme. This means you won't spin even if you brain goes into "idiot" mode.

"It allows you to do much more extreme manoeuvres than a standard car, but it’s not going to let you go crazy – you are still not Ken Block!" Ray added.

Speaking of the Gymkhana man, you can check out the two clips below, which show him manhandling the 2016 Focus RS. While the first brings the hot hatch to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the second follows Block's Gymkhana routine a bit closer.

And yes, it does seem the Focus is much more Evo than STI, if we may call it that.

Video thumbnail
Video thumbnail
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Andrei Tutu
Andrei Tutu profile photo

In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories