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By Scott Evans, April 06, 2015

The Ford Focus RS won't go on sale for a year, but fans are already lined up around the block to get deposits in. While you're waiting, here are 11 things you'll want to know about your new baby.

Drift Mode

Everyone's heard about it, but what does it actually do? As you would hope, it lets the car oversteer. By default, the RS is set up to handle neutrally and put as much power to the ground as possible, like a GT-R. Enable Drift Mode, though, and it'll handle more like a Focus ST, letting the rear end come out and play. More than that, though, the Ford guys say it'll actually power oversteer, as it can send up to 70 percent of the power to the rear wheels. What Drift Mode actually does is loosen up the stability control and the dampers and allow the rear end to transfer more weight side-to-side in a corner, which can make the car oversteer.

Power

The Ford engineers we talked to wouldn't say how much power the RS has, but not because they didn't want to. It's because they're still trying to get even more out of it. Right now, they're saying "at least" 315 hp because they've already hit that number. They want more, and we're just going to have to wait while they wring every last drop out of the 2.3-liter turbo four.

Wheels, Tires, and Brakes

Standard tires are Michelin Pilot Super Sports. The Pilot Cup 2s you've seen on the show cars are optional. Also optional are the blacked-out, forged aluminum wheels, which save a pound of unsprung weight per corner. The four-piston front and one-piston rear Brembo brakes are standard.

Torque Distribution

Power is transferred to the rear wheels via a simple power takeoff on the front transaxle; there's no center differential. At the rear, the differential has two clutches, one on either half-shaft. This means that of the 70 percent of engine power that can be sent to the rear, up to 100 percent of that power can be sent to either rear wheel. Up front, Ford continues with its brake-based torque vectoring system rather than a mechanical limited-slip differential. The computer checks its sensors 100 times per second to decide where to send the power. When you're just tooling around town, the RS will basically be front-wheel drive for better fuel economy. It even has automatic engine start/stop, though you can turn that off.

Transmission

It's a six-speed manual or nothing, and that's the way Ford wants it. They could've done a dual-clutch, but they didn't think it fit the character of the car. The clutch has been upgraded, but Ford says the computer doesn't need to pull power to protect the drivetrain. It can handle the whole thing, all the time. Also, the shifter will have shorter throws than the Focus ST.

Launch Control

The RS has launch control, and there's no limiter on it. You can do as many launch control starts in a row as you want to. But please, think of your clutch.

Chassis

The chassis has been stiffened for the RS compared to other Foci, as you might expect. Not because the engine is so powerful, but because the car has so much grip. Stiffening the chassis helped keep the wheels planted better and allows the car to handle even better.

Seats

All RS cars get standard Recaro bucket seats. An upgraded Recaro seat gets suede inserts, seat heaters, and seat coolers.

Price

Ford says the RS will be priced "competitively" with the Subaru WRX STI and Volkswagen Golf R, so figure just under $40,000.

Ken Block

How much did he really have to do with the new RS? The Ford people tell us that when asked, he pushed them very hard for all-wheel drive, and that helped them decide to do it. Block is also credited with helping to come up with the Drift Mode idea and had input on the car's handling. He was also consulted on things like paint colors. He does it all for free because he loves the Focus RS.

Colors

So far, the color palette is pretty simple: black, white, Nitrous Blue, and a new Stealth flat gray. More colors may come later.

11 Things You'll Want to Know About the Ford Focus RS
 

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Stealth Grey doesn't look flat to me.
 

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just want the damn price already and i dont wana wait til halloween :(


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You won't know the price until the RS is in dealers and people are signing papers, I'm sure for a lot more then what Ford tell them to. I'm hoping we will be able to get one early at sticker, I don't for see that with such strong demand unless the supply is there already.
 

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You won't know the price until the RS is in dealers and people are signing papers, I'm sure for a lot more then what Ford tell them to. I'm hoping we will be able to get one early at sticker, I don't for see that with such strong demand unless the supply is there already.
well yeah the final price OTD will be higher because ford won't budge at first, i just ment ballpark range so I know if its in my future or not..i am however contemplating waiting and seeing if it gets a little easier to deal with em. I know they wont haggle but i really won't pay over msrp for brand new.


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well yeah the final price OTD will be higher because ford won't budge at first, i just ment ballpark range so I know if its in my future or not..i am however contemplating waiting and seeing if it gets a little easier to deal with em. I know they wont haggle but i really won't pay over msrp for brand new.


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No one should ever pay over sticker, I feel the same way. As for a ballpark, Ford stated the price will be around Golf R and STI money. I don't think it will be over 40K and there will only be a handful of options. I'm hoping Ford will do with the RS what they did with the ST by undercutting the Golf R by $500 for a starting price.
 

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"The computer checks its sensors 100 times per second to decide where to send the power."

This is probably the most annoying thing that marketing people feed to us. We've had computers that can do 350+ operations per second since the 1940s, checking 100 times a second is not impressive at all for a computer.
 

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"The computer checks its sensors 100 times per second to decide where to send the power."

This is probably the most annoying thing that marketing people feed to us. We've had computers that can do 350+ operations per second since the 1940s, checking 100 times a second is not impressive at all for a computer.
The ability to change the direction of power 100 times a second would be a much greater statement, and I hope this is what they mean as you stated processing speed is way beyond .01 of a second. Also 100 times a second is good for anything under 80, but when you get above that now you are talking a foot plus every 10 milliseconds and almost 2 feet at 120 before the computer can react, as far as an apex goes at times your talking inches.

When Chevrolet built the C7 and editors were driving it for the first time they all stated they couldn't feel the Diff working, the engineer replies if you feel it working then it is not doing its job as it should be with you not playing catch up.

The way Ford puts it, I think the RS will be the same way. The car is with you engaging and anticipating your inputs making corrections as you work the wheel, I'm not sure why they waste time throwing out marketing numbers that are probably way of from actual computing speed.
 

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No one should ever pay over sticker, I feel the same way. As for a ballpark, Ford stated the price will be around Golf R and STI money. I don't think it will be over 40K and there will only be a handful of options. I'm hoping Ford will do with the RS what they did with the ST by undercutting the Golf R by $500 for a starting price.
I'm okay with paying MSRP for something as special as the RS, especially as these probably won't be sitting on the dealer lots for long, if at all. It'll be just like the Golf R, which I can't find anywhere. I was told that I would have to special order a Golf R, which is understandable. As long as the price is competitive, I'll be okay with it. I'm much, MUCH more interested in its performance, actual dyno numbers (awhp), and possibility of being tuned to even greater heights.

It must (and SHOULD, considering its larger engine displacement and RS badging & heritage) beat a Golf R in everything that has to do with performance (which should also mean it'll beat an S3), and it must stomp the current STI into the curb. It would be nice if this was very close to a CLA 45 AMG (or even on par / better), and the upcoming RS3.
 

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I actually think 100 times a second to poll a sea of sensors is not that bad. No where did they say the ECU managing the system is only operating at 100hz from what I read. How many sensors, what variable type/size will each sensor provide, how many previous reading will it compare against within the .01 seconds to be ready for next poll of the sensors?
 

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I'm okay with paying MSRP for something as special as the RS, especially as these probably won't be sitting on the dealer lots for long, if at all. It'll be just like the Golf R, which I can't find anywhere. I was told that I would have to special order a Golf R, which is understandable. As long as the price is competitive, I'll be okay with it. I'm much, MUCH more interested in its performance, actual dyno numbers (awhp), and possibility of being tuned to even greater heights.

It must (and SHOULD, considering its larger engine displacement and RS badging & heritage) beat a Golf R in everything that has to do with performance (which should also mean it'll beat an S3), and it must stomp the current STI into the curb. It would be nice if this was very close to a CLA 45 AMG (or even on par / better), and the upcoming RS3.
Word from Ford on the latest testing evaluation that the perceived benchmarks are no longer applicable, which ones though I'm not sure. Also do not get too caught up on numbers with the RS, if it is slower then the AMG or RS3 it wouldn't bother me as long as the RS is the better drivers car, the Golf R and STI I don't think the RS will have a problem with them.

Forgot to mention, I'm not sure about this side of the pond but I read some where the Golf R in Europe sold out in 12 hours of ordering books opening up. That's impressive and a very strong demand, all good things for us, means more opportunity for potential competition :)
 

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I actually think 100 times a second to poll a sea of sensors is not that bad. No where did they say the ECU managing the system is only operating at 100hz from what I read. How many sensors, what variable type/size will each sensor provide, how many previous reading will it compare against within the .01 seconds to be ready for next poll of the sensors?
Fords High speed comm line runs at 500kbps, so it has some good potential of transferring data. The thing to also remember is that the computer doesn't have to think it just does with what ever input it is getting and transfers it to an output depending on the program.

I think the main point being made was that we would be happier with actual information instead of marketing gimmicks trying to simplify and wow us. Sadly I doubt that will ever happen as to what exactly the RS will do at a certain point and how quickly will it react in an OH Sh*t moment ect, or what can be done in said moment. I'm hoping more detailed information will start coming out with exactly how the RS will employ TQ vectoring and distribute its power in certain situations, but telling us the system takes readings a 100 times a second just doesn't do the entire system justice that it deserves, as we know there is a whole lot more going on.
 

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Exactly, there is a lot going on, and while most car buyers would not care about such things a lot of us interested in the RS have IT backgrounds so the flow charts of the programming logic used is of more interest to us than "marketing one liners". One guess I'll make is that if the PTU or RDU reach x degrees it will disable the rear drive clutches, Ford already stated both have temp sensors.
 

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Word from Ford on the latest testing evaluation that the perceived benchmarks are no longer applicable, which ones though I'm not sure. Also do not get too caught up on numbers with the RS, if it is slower then the AMG or RS3 it wouldn't bother me as long as the RS is the better drivers car, the Golf R and STI I don't think the RS will have a problem with them.

Forgot to mention, I'm not sure about this side of the pond but I read some where the Golf R in Europe sold out in 12 hours of ordering books opening up. That's impressive and a very strong demand, all good things for us, means more opportunity for potential competition :)
I saw and sat in the golf r at the ny auto show. I could not believe how dated and ****ty the interior is. It was really bad. That car better be the best driving car ever to make up for it. I couldn't see spending almost 40k on that interior. I'm not even a fan of the exterior either as well. So bland and boring.
 

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I saw and sat in the golf r at the ny auto show. I could not believe how dated and ****ty the interior is. It was really bad. That car better be the best driving car ever to make up for it. I couldn't see spending almost 40k on that interior. I'm not even a fan of the exterior either as well. So bland and boring.
I still have to drive the R, but so far I have heard mixed reviews, and some stating they would have the GTI over the R due to its willingness to play. This is where the RS is going to shine, it will be very flexible and won't stop you from having fun, most likely will encourage it :)
 

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I think the main point being made was that we would be happier with actual information instead of marketing gimmicks trying to simplify and wow us.
This is exactly what I meant. They really hold back on how cool the technology ACTUALLY is in the car, and give us generic statements so they can be digested by the general public. I just wish the engineers could write the press releases instead of the marketing folks :)
 

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This is exactly what I meant. They really hold back on how cool the technology ACTUALLY is in the car, and give us generic statements so they can be digested by the general public. I just wish the engineers could write the press releases instead of the marketing folks :)
I'm a mechanical engineer that migrated into industrial sales 20 years ago. I can tell you this, if they let engineers write the press releases it would A) be over most consumer's heads and would only confuse them and B) It would give technical information that is likely proprietary to the competition.
 

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So about the subject of ordering one. I have never ordered a car before but I am planning on ordering one of these. Anyone have experience doing it and know the process? A friend of mine said to contact Ford directly anyone know if that is true? Never mind I found the correct section of the forum haha!
 

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I actually think 100 times a second to poll a sea of sensors is not that bad. No where did they say the ECU managing the system is only operating at 100hz from what I read. How many sensors, what variable type/size will each sensor provide, how many previous reading will it compare against within the .01 seconds to be ready for next poll of the sensors?
This is actually very slow for a real-time response system. While it may be considered fast for a PLU on a SCADA system, it is not really acceptable performance for a Track Car control/response system. I think the marketing people, who are pretty clueless, confused milliseconds and microseconds.
 
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