2016 Ford Focus RS Has a Hoonage-Oriented All-Wheel Drive System

Yes, the new Ford Focus RS isn’t as powerful as the Audi RS3 and yes, the Blue Oval badge isn’t as enticing as the four-ringed brand from Ingolstadt. But you know what? The RS is that considerable bit cheaper than the German pocket rocket and its all-wheel drive system might have the upper hand over the RS3’s quattro system.
2016 Ford Focus RS 6 photos
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Whereas quattro is the older and wiser between the two, with the first iterations of the system harking back since the Group B rally era and the eponymous Audi Quattro fire-breathing monster, Ford doesn’t have that much pedigree regarding all-wheel drive know-how. Nevertheless, the Ford Performance division worked hard as of late and the fruits of their labour sound very promising on paper.

Nameplates such as the Fusion/Mondeo, Edge, Explorer are all available with a system Ford dubs Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. In comparison to its stable mates, the 2016 Focus RS boasts with Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring. It’s a mouthful, alright, but even its name suggests that this bit of kit is a more performance-oriented system than Intelligent AWD.

What makes this contraption so special?

If you want a simple answer to that, I want to highlight that the Blue Oval describes this system as having “the ability to achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track.” In a C-segment hot hatch! I’m trying to remember if the Audi boys said something similar about the RS3 or if Mercedes-Benz did with the A45 AMG. With so much confidence in their product, Ford has pushed the envelope which is known as 'the driving fun factor' even further.

By all means the system may have some drawbacks when pushed to the limits of grip, drawbacks we’ll be able to tell you about once we get behind the wheel of the newest uber hatch on the block. ’til then, let’s talk about how Performance All-Wheel Drive operates.

Ford Performance AWD is based on twin electronically-controlled clutch packs

Those clutches are fitted on each side of the rear drive unit. Their main job is to distribute the torque (and HP) of the 316+ HP and 320+ lb-ft (446+ Nm) 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-banger, splitting the high-octane fury between the front and rear axles of the Focus RS. Furthermore, these clutch packs are also taking care of distributing the engine’s grunt between the rear wheels. This latter task is the reason why Torque Vectoring, as Ford calls it with capital letters, makes up the official moniker of the RS’ all-wheel drive system.

Before you check the release below for further information on the Focus RS’ party piece, you might want to know that the system is able to pull over 1G of lateral acceleration thanks to the high levels of grip it’s capable of. Those super sticky 19-inch Michelin tires will work wonders too, especially if you vector in the two-mode adjustable dampers, knuckle design front suspension and the thumbs up from Ken Block.

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press release

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