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Discussion Starter #1
It seems like the dirt/rally ability of this car has been played down a lot. The ride height is low, the dampers stiff, the OEM tires thin and sticky. But most of us got this thing because it sends power to all four wheels, which comes in handy when the road you're driving on doesn't spoon feed you traction. The hype for this car's AWD and drift mode were immense at first, but many reviewers and car geeks seemed to discount it after trying it out. Not able to get too sideways on sticky track surfaces and roads, I've seen drift mode being written off as no more than "burnout mode" by more than one person.

So, after owning my RS for several months, I finally took the time to go far enough away from the city where I could drive some unpaved roads with real corners and turns. And hopefully with nobody doing the same thing in the opposite direction.

The "burnout mode" camp are wrong. Ford's RS team built and tuned the Focus RS for low traction marvelously. On narrow back roads the car comes into its own, even on its thin Pilot Super Sport tires. Turn on drift mode. Enter a turn from a low speed, throttle-on and turn that wheel more than you should. Opposite lock yourself into bliss and leave the corner going at least twice as fast as you entered it. Drift mode turns off traction control but leaves stability control on. Leave it on, it really knows what it's doing. It almost makes taking the corners too easy, and could easily give you a false sense of confidence which can easily get you into trouble on dirt. But keep your McRae-wannabe ego humbled and press the brakes, slow down for that next turn, because then you can put your foot right to the floor again, and with that comes another smile on your face.
 

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I wish ford would have a factory RS driving experience for owners to have an off-road experience and fully explore the real chassis magic.
To experience the full potential of the RS in a controlled environment......?
Priceless
:thumbsup:
 

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Good to hear!
I found drift mode good, found there is so much adjustbility in the car with modes and on dirt, the car truly does do amazingly well on dirt, after doing same run out to the kids waterhole, too many times, that standard mode and 20kmm/h faster than you think is possible on entry, leads to beautiful easily controlled tail out joy. All fun and games til the kids get in the car though, not with them.
I will admit though I have not used drift mode much at all, sports mode with the 10 second hold for traction control has been my main weapon of choice.
Did you get to stretch her legs? how did you find it? amazingly hard to put into words isn't it... but she does $2.50 easily on graded roads.
Did you find the braking was attrocious on rutted sections? especially with traction control fully switched off (ie 10 second hold)?
 

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I wish ford would have a factory RS driving experience for owners to have an off-road experience and fully explore the real chassis magic.
To experience the full potential of the RS in a controlled environment......?
Priceless
Team ONeal is probably the closest Ford rally school you can get. Taking the 3 day course with them is still on my bucket list
 

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I’ve talked about that mode on here a lot. How the journalists and everyone else got it wrong. I put mine into drift and take paved corners aggressively and it behaves like a RWD car with oversteer. It’s so much fun and like having 2 drivetrain in one. One being AWD, glued to the road with all 4 tires. The other a RWD like mode with 70% of power going to rear but with the safety of 30% still going to the front. All the idiots that reviewed the car kept saying how dangerous it was, how it should only be done on a track, they still haven’t figured out it’s a RWD biased mode and can be used for so much more than drifting and burnouts in a parking lot. I was actually scared to use it initially because of this. One day I said screw it, gave all them the stink eye and started taking corners aggressively in drift, and I’m talking all pavement. After a few drives I had worked my competency up and started driving very aggressively. Car drifts through the apex, but as soon as you get back on the throttle it will pull itself out of the corner and start hauling ass, forward.

I begged to get some laps in at the RSAA during the track session in drift to no avail. Is what it is. Sad that everyone that reviewed the car, we’re talking big outlets, got this so wrong. It’s a fantastic feature of the AWD system from GKN. It was mislabeled and definitely misunderstood. F em. I got two drivetrains in my car for the price of one. Have fun with the next gen hot hatches and battery packs. Hope you enjoy hybrids. I feel like I stole this car and got away with burglary. Years from now people will figure it out, finally understand how special it is, and it will appreciate.
 

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Now if there were more than literally zero options for lifting the car...
I’ve talked about that mode on here a lot. How the journalists and everyone else got it wrong. I put mine into drift and take paved corners aggressively and it behaves like a RWD car with oversteer. It’s so much fun and like having 2 drivetrain in one. One being AWD, glued to the road with all 4 tires. The other a RWD like mode with 70% of power going to rear but with the safety of 30% still going to the front. All the idiots that reviewed the car kept saying how dangerous it was, how it should only be done on a track, they still haven’t figured out it’s a RWD biased mode and can be used for so much more than drifting and burnouts in a parking lot. I was actually scared to use it initially because of this. One day I said screw it, gave all them the stink eye and started taking corners aggressively in drift, and I’m talking all pavement. After a few drives I had worked my competency up and started driving very aggressively. Car drifts through the apex, but as soon as you get back on the throttle it will pull itself out of the corner and start hauling ass, forward.
The Everyday Driver comparo vid does actually touch on this - Drift Mode without drifting. One of the many reasons I like those guys.
 

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I wish ford would have a factory RS driving experience for owners to have an off-road experience and fully explore the real chassis magic.
To experience the full potential of the RS in a controlled environment......?
Priceless
:thumbsup:
People looked at me funny when I got excited about a “Focus Active” RS where you would learn a rallycross track at the AA. Go from paved to gravel in the same lap, using two different driving styles...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good to hear!
I found drift mode good, found there is so much adjustbility in the car with modes and on dirt, the car truly does do amazingly well on dirt, after doing same run out to the kids waterhole, too many times, that standard mode and 20kmm/h faster than you think is possible on entry, leads to beautiful easily controlled tail out joy. All fun and games til the kids get in the car though, not with them.
I will admit though I have not used drift mode much at all, sports mode with the 10 second hold for traction control has been my main weapon of choice.
Did you get to stretch her legs? how did you find it? amazingly hard to put into words isn't it... but she does $2.50 easily on graded roads.
Did you find the braking was attrocious on rutted sections? especially with traction control fully switched off (ie 10 second hold)?
Since it was my first time trying to rotate on dirt, and since 30% of the power goes to the front and accelerates the car really fast at full throttle, I took it relatively easy this time. :)

I stretched the cars legs for sure. I did not brake too much in rutty areas. I was surprised by the braking, it was much better than I expected, but I was getting more traction than I expected and really had to push the power to get the tires to actually slip. Maybe this was because I left ESC on. Again since it was my first time and because the road was just wide enough for one and half cars. Not much margin for error. I'd rather ease into dirt drifting than have to call a tow truck to the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. I'll probably find my footing with ESC off when winter hits unless I find a wider empty dirt road or large dirt patch to drive on.
 

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I have done my amateur rallying on dirt in the middle of the night too. I agree with everything you say. Definitely fun in drift mode. Easy to rotate but easy to catch also, and scary easy to accelerate even when sideways.
 

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Going 40-50 mph on dirt in the RS and taking some turns in a fast slide makes you feel like this
 

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All good stuff here. I've used drift mode a couple of times with pretty decent success doing rallycross and on the skid pad.

I agree, it does make the car rotate much easier, but coming from a very simple RWD car (BRZ), it is not very intuitive. To me it felt like there was no good way to control the slide with the throttle. It almost felt like an on/off switch: turn-in and give it the beans, at it will definitely rotate at will, but if you ease off slightly to maintain the drift or to change directions, it tries to correct itself and either straightens or plows/understeers during transition. Turning ESC completely off (I later realized its still "on" even in drift mode) does help a little, but still doesn't make it any more predictable.

I've never gotten confident with my understanding of the way the RDU behaves, even in track mode at the track. I'm almost always guessing what it will do on a certain extreme situation. I'm sure there is some sort of learning curve that I need to get over, but its a little unfortunate that I have to forget a little bit of the "good" habits that I know (from driving an RWD car) and drive a little bit like a d1ck to make it behave like I think it should.
 

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@Icerod

I don’t like any of the suspension options over the other as of yet. DSC/Tractive = $5+k, so $$$
Ohlins and MCS, no control over suspension inside the car. That sucks because it’s one of the cool things about the car. I was really hoping Ohlins would offer the wired up solution only to find out a month or two ago they would not.
KW DDC looks like the best option but like you I don’t like that it auto drops it. The car is already low enough from the factory (I’d like it higher). And Bilstein says they are out. I’d go Tractive if it wasn’t so expensive. So it’s looking like KW DDC if you do pavement, MCS if you do off-road. Has MCS or Seth stated how much you can raise it up?
 

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All good stuff here. I've used drift mode a couple of times with pretty decent success doing rallycross and on the skid pad.

I agree, it does make the car rotate much easier, but coming from a very simple RWD car (BRZ), it is not very intuitive. To me it felt like there was no good way to control the slide with the throttle. It almost felt like an on/off switch: turn-in and give it the beans, at it will definitely rotate at will, but if you ease off slightly to maintain the drift or to change directions, it tries to correct itself and either straightens or plows/understeers during transition. Turning ESC completely off (I later realized its still "on" even in drift mode) does help a little, but still doesn't make it any more predictable.

I've never gotten confident with my understanding of the way the RDU behaves, even in track mode at the track. I'm almost always guessing what it will do on a certain extreme situation. I'm sure there is some sort of learning curve that I need to get over, but its a little unfortunate that I have to forget a little bit of the "good" habits that I know (from driving an RWD car) and drive a little bit like a d1ck to make it behave like I think it should.
Some of the more experienced reviewers (Chris Harris, Evo mag, C&D during Lightning Lap) have mentioned this as well. In fact my first post on the forum when I was considering a purchase was this:
Does the RS teach bad habits?
https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?sh...org/forum/showpost.php?p=1321969&share_type=t

Maybe the habits aren’t bad necessarily but I think you are right that the RS driving style doesn’t translate to RWD and vice versa. I wonder if this is less a result of the twinster system and more something true of any heavily rear-biased AWD system. As you mention I think part of the issue is that any counter steer, which in a RWD car would just maintain your drift angle, starts to claw the RS straight out of the drift.
 

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Some of the more experienced reviewers (Chris Harris, Evo mag, C&D during Lightning Lap) have mentioned this as well. In fact my first post on the forum when I was considering a purchase was this:
Does the RS teach bad habits?

Maybe the habits aren’t bad necessarily but I think you are right that the RS driving style doesn’t translate to RWD and vice versa. I wonder if this is less a result of the twinster system and more something true of any heavily rear-biased AWD system. As you mention I think part of the issue is that any counter steer, which in a RWD car would just maintain your drift angle, starts to claw the RS straight out of the drift.
Ya, I recall replying to that thread. My comments here are more specific to drift mode and loose surfaces/dirt, but still along the same lines of my original comments on that thread. I think drift mode is great on dirt, its a good "approximation" of RWD handling.

From my experience from rallycrossing FWD, AWD and RWD cars, the RS still handles more like a FWD car 90% of the time, but with the ability of rotating the car on throttle (as opposed to front weight transfer/braking) so its a little bit of a mix. FWD and AWD cars will tend to want to straighten them selves out as you power out of a turn, with the fronts "clawing" them selves straight. The RS, on the other hand, I think tries to rotate the car as its sending more power on the rear outer tire as you power out. My problem comes up when I try to modulate the throttle during that "power out" moment to do fine adjustments on the cars direction coming out of a corner or transitioning from one corner to another, which is a RWD technique.

So its almost like you really have to "learn" how to drive the RS specifically using both RWD and FWD/AWD techniques. I think this is the same reason why Team ONeal had to do some RDU recalibrations for their RS rally car. In the end, you drive the RS like it is, both like a RWD and AWD car lol.
 

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All good stuff here. I've used drift mode a couple of times with pretty decent success doing rallycross and on the skid pad.

I agree, it does make the car rotate much easier, but coming from a very simple RWD car (BRZ), it is not very intuitive. To me it felt like there was no good way to control the slide with the throttle. It almost felt like an on/off switch: turn-in and give it the beans, at it will definitely rotate at will, but if you ease off slightly to maintain the drift or to change directions, it tries to correct itself and either straightens or plows/understeers during transition. Turning ESC completely off (I later realized its still "on" even in drift mode) does help a little, but still doesn't make it any more predictable.

I've never gotten confident with my understanding of the way the RDU behaves, even in track mode at the track. I'm almost always guessing what it will do on a certain extreme situation. I'm sure there is some sort of learning curve that I need to get over, but its a little unfortunate that I have to forget a little bit of the "good" habits that I know (from driving an RWD car) and drive a little bit like a d1ck to make it behave like I think it should.
I think the surface makes a difference from hard clay to micropolished sand, think the corner tightness and speed make a difference too.
Previous cars make a difference as well but 4wd drifting is more like fwd drifting than rwd drifitng. Easiest way to learn is grab $500 fwd remove front shocks and learn to get round corners without scrubbing out the front wheels.
My 86GTS ran over 200Bhp at wheels NA (exhaust from first cat not 2nd, cusco throttle , cusco increased diff capacity housing, ecutek tune) think carbon propshaft helped out a fair bit, and the seibon duckbill gave better downforce on rear at speed (removed aero wing as downforce was based of it weighing 20Kg). you could steer that on the throttle easily but I had nine inch wide rays rims with rear set to 0 degrees camber, TRD bracing kit, TRD door braces (like the rubber ones in the RS)made so much difference as did the master cylinder brace and strut bars.
z86 clean.PNG
I find (in the RS) when you turn sport mode on and hold the Traction control off button for 10 seconds they drive almost exactly the same, easily steered on throttle, more about balancing car on throttle really, little more throttle = little wider angle easy to hold.
But Focus RS is alot like pug 206 with a rear swaybar etc etc etc, then again that was quicker through a corner than the 86 anyway, made an evo seem pretty soft to start with too.
Drift mode I find screwed with me on tarmac as countersteering intuitively is not the point and shoot Drift Mode is setup. On loose dirt its like driving with slicks in a torrential downpour with someone yanking the handbrake intermittantly on you, but not in a way that helps.
Hard clay is similar to dusty tarmac I have found.
 
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Going 40-50 mph on dirt in the RS and taking some turns in a fast slide makes you feel like this
I know there's a 'like' button - where's the 'love' button?......
 

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Going 40-50 mph on dirt in the RS and taking some turns in a fast slide makes you feel like this
My perfect garage would be that ma-f’er there and a Trophy truck, no Ferrari, McLaren, or Porsche needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
@Icerod

I don’t like any of the suspension options over the other as of yet. DSC/Tractive = $5+k, so $$$
Ohlins and MCS, no control over suspension inside the car. That sucks because it’s one of the cool things about the car. I was really hoping Ohlins would offer the wired up solution only to find out a month or two ago they would not.
KW DDC looks like the best option but like you I don’t like that it auto drops it. The car is already low enough from the factory (I’d like it higher). And Bilstein says they are out. I’d go Tractive if it wasn’t so expensive. So it’s looking like KW DDC if you do pavement, MCS if you do off-road. Has MCS or Seth stated how much you can raise it up?
I think the MCS can be raised a couple inches. It's mentioned in the video I think. They sell a much more expensive kit with remote suspension tuning that I believe means you can control it from inside the car, but not as simple as holding the button at the end of the stalk.
 
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