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Thursday 2nd August 2012

Driven: Superchips tuned Ford Focus Ecoboost

With a little help from Superchips the already fascinating Focus Ecoboost now has more power than an Escort RS Turbo



Remember how we quivered over the Escort RS Turbo back in the day? All bonnet vents, whistling wastegates and Recaro-seated excitement? Boy, was it potent. Er, hold on, here's a reality check: it produced 132hp. 0-60mph was but reasonably exciting at 8.3 seconds. How a quarter-century has tamed the best.

145hp from a 1.0-litre engine is astonishing
145hp from a 1.0-litre engine is astonishing
Goodness, there's even now a cooking Ford Focus that can almost match it - with one cylinder and almost half the capacity less. The miraculous Ecoboost 1.0-litre turbo triple is, we know, a joy. And now, thanks to the company that was made famous by cars such as the Escort RS Turbo, it's even more of a peach.

Chipping master Superchips has created an RS Turbo-beating 145hp Focus Ecoboost, courtesy of some good old fashioned engine remapping. This apparently tempers some of Ford's "obvious" measures to improve official cycle fuel economy, to the benefit of real-world usability. The aim, we're told, is not to chase headline power boosts (they used to get 40hp out of a chipped RS Turbo...) but to make it more driveable. These days, torque is priority, not power.

And it's as easy as that...
And it's as easy as that...
Plug and play
It's an easy mod to make. Because it's a Ford, it can be reprogrammed via Superchips' Bluefin device, which plugs into the dealer diagnostic port. You can, literally, order it by 3pm online and, for £455, get your extra 20hp delivered the next day.

It's a hard mod to feel at first, mind. Save for some fluttery, uneven response around 4,000rpm (better than standard but still there), it performs little different to the stock motor. Despite the Superchips power enhancements being particularly obvious over 4,500rpm, it still prefers mid-range to high revs, deploys the characteristic three-cylinder bark only above 3,000rpm, is as beautifully smooth and amazingly distant - oh, and punishes you severely if you forget to wind on a few revs when pulling away.

Superchips is an old hand at this game
Superchips is an old hand at this game
Not even a remap can alter this - it really is wholly reliant on the turbo. Expect the engine to pull you lazily along and you'll go nowhere. Or, stall it. You need throttle movement, to get the gasses flowing, to get the Focus moving. Do not forget this.

Keep your foot in
Still, despite this, and the 'huge' boost it reportedly runs at (22-23psi!) and the 'chipped monster' preconceptions, it's free from significant turbo lag. You're invariably in a lower gear than you realise anyway, due to the audible illusion of a three-pot, while the small gasflow paths and lack of inertia also adds to its vibrancy.

So, what's the benefit? True to Superchips' word, it's torque. Back to that RS Turbo. It produced 133lb ft at 2,750rpm. This produces a mighty 167lb ft - at 2,650rpm. That's 500rpm lower than the standard engine, as Superchips has swelled the lower-end torque curve. It's this that makes it feel like someone's installed a soft-tune 2.5-litre V6 in there. A much more subtle gain than you may expect, but one that's likely to be more satisfying in the long run.

Lack of weight makes for a nimble steer
Lack of weight makes for a nimble steer
The bantam weight engine enhances handling, too. Losing mass from the front end helps it turn in with more eager precision and delicacy than a heavy turbodiesel. There's more reward for using fingertips and Ford utilises the normal-section tyres to deliver decent purity of feel. It's no Elise, but it's very good by modern hatch standards.

The next step
Thanks to that extra dose of power and pull, it makes it an unexpectedly satisfying car to master on twisting country roads. A surfeit of grip over power, yes, but just enough power to have fun and just enough chassis feel to fully maximise it. Cooking versions of the latest Ford Focus aren't as interesting to drive as they should be, Ecoboost excepted. This one enhances that and makes the engine feel even more implausible.

My how things have come on since then
My how things have come on since then
Today is also not about how much power you have, but how little produces it and how little CO2 you thus leave in your wake. This is why the Superchips Ecoboost tune is so alluring. Drive it like your gran and it should return similar 56mpg to the standard car. None of us will see that, but we also won't see much less than the regular one, either. When Autocar tested the RS Turbo in 1986, its overall average was 30.1mpg - of highly toxic pre-Euro emissions too, remember...

Just one more thing. The Escort RS Turbo weighed 1,080kg .The latest Ford Fiesta weighs from 1,040kg - and will be facelifted later this year, when it gains this engine too. Fiesta Zetec S 1.0 Ecoboost 145, anyone? The Focus is impressive, yes, but it isn't the headline car we may have on our hands...


FORD FOCUS 1.0 ECOBOOST SUPERCHIPS
Engine:
999cc 3-cyl turbocharged
Power: 145hp
Torque: 167lb ft
0-62mph: 10.0sec (est)
Top speed: 125mph (est)
Weight: 1,200kg
MPG: 56.5mpg (est)
CO2: N/A
Price: N/A

 

richardaucock
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Author Discussion

thewheelman

Original Poster:

2,194 posts

56 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Very impressive stats from such a small engine.

ph1l5

4,192 posts

85 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Impressive stuff. I fancy a drive of that now.

off_again

9,092 posts

117 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Like the article says - bring on the Fiesta with the same engine and then chip it! The Fiesta is a cracking car and lighter with the higher power - what a combination! Careful ticking of options and get the better wheels etc, and you have a right little belter which driven carefully gets diesel economy!

SomeMinorTrouble

378 posts

25 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
What warranty does this the ecoboost come with?
Worried about how much all this boost and power in a tiny engine will affect longevity, dont want to see millions of focus' scrapped in 10 years because the engine has packed up.
Amazing how they can get the same amount of power as massive american v8s used to.

MycroftWard

2,955 posts

96 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Got to be impressed by the technology, looking like the future of petrol engines here.

Love the RS Turbo, it's had it's image problems but is sure to be a classic with other performance Ford's.
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M@1975

534 posts

110 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
That's pretty impressive.

BorkFactor

5,849 posts

41 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Very impressive, but surely having to be "on boost" almost all the time won't be good for the life of the turbo? I can't see many of these being useable at 10 years old and 120k without needing a new turbo which will cost half as much as the entire car.

Compare that to all the perfectly good 1.6 mk1 Focii (Focuses?) that are about now, are cheap used car bargains going to become a thing of the past?

NA for me please.

den

99 posts

160 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Technically impressive yes, but as the article wants to make the comparison to the ledge that is the Escort RS Turbo, we should also be looking at the resultant performance figures.
25 year old Escort -- 0-62 8.3 secs
new super boosted Eco Ford -- 0-62 10 secs (est)

I'll be impressed when we start seeing all the new Eco tech producing performance figures that we want our cars to produce.

Edited by den on Thursday 2nd August 12:07

CedricN

202 posts

28 months

[news] 
Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
BorkFactor said:
Very impressive, but surely having to be "on boost" almost all the time won't be good for the life of the turbo? I can't see many of these being useable at 10 years old and 120k without needing a new turbo which will cost half as much as the entire car.

Compare that to all the perfectly good 1.6 mk1 Focii (Focuses?) that are about now, are cheap used car bargains going to become a thing of the past?

NA for me please.
It depends on your setup. Trucks and other heavy engines runs on boost almost all the time (although not as hot exhaust temps) with good service life. Its just a question about cost. This engine probably have much higher spcec pistons, rods, cylinder heads etc etc.

1.6 base engines are absolutely dreadful, totally dead under 4500rpm and starts to move just after that. Did a back to back test with a vww 1.6 and 1.2tsi engines at a dealer, the 1.2 won that fight by a huuuuuuge margin, 1.6 just felt totally useless afterwards, atlhough about the same top end number.

FraserLFA

4,972 posts

57 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Witchcraft!!!!!

Benjaminbopper

135 posts

52 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Would someone buy this kind of car to remap it? Probably a company vehicle and messing with that is risky...either way, an impressive feat.

fathomfive

7,541 posts

73 months

[news] 
Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
den said:
Technically impressive yes, but as the article wants to make the comparison to the ledge that is the Escort RS Turbo, we should also be looking at the resultant performance figures.
25 year old Escort -- 0-62 8.3 secs
new super boosted Eco Ford -- 0-62 10 secs (est)

I'll be impressed when we start seeing all the new Eco tech producing performance figures that we want our cars to produce.

Edited by den on Thursday 2nd August 12:07
The Escort engine did have 200kg less to haul around though.

Caulkhead

4,938 posts

40 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Ford already have a 177bhp version ready:

http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/ford-10...

djfaulkner

827 posts

101 months

[news] 
Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Benjaminbopper said:
Would someone buy this kind of car to remap it? Probably a company vehicle and messing with that is risky...either way, an impressive feat.
Not sure if someone would buy a car to remap it, but if someone had the car they would remap it.

Mountune Performance offer an upgrade on the 1.6 180 and 150 ecoboosts to 200
http://www.mountuneperformance.com/images/download...


Sivraj

256 posts

74 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Don't fall for it!...
It’s just an attempt by the state to get us out of our big engine barges and into little eco friendly hatch backs!.....
Before we know it everybody will have a 600cc super charged, turbo charged hatch back wink

corcoran

231 posts

157 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Actually 25 years on and we seem to be back in the 80's once more

http://images.pistonheads.com/nimg/23965/tn_8389-L...

ANY COLOUR AS LONG AS ITS WHITE, MATE.

subzero

69 posts

81 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
Ive got a Blue Fin from Superchips on my van.

One of its best features is that its switchable. Less than a minute will see it back to factory mapping and no one would ever be the wiser.

Buy the car, use this system and you can still take it back to the main stealer for a service without them ever knowing!! biggrin So you cant invalidate your warranty.

Only downside is that if you sell the vehicle or trade it in, you have to buy another Bluefin and start all over again.

chrisp84

343 posts

96 months

[news] 
Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
djfaulkner said:
Not sure if someone would buy a car to remap it, but if someone had the car they would remap it.

Mountune Performance offer an upgrade on the 1.6 180 and 150 ecoboosts to 200
http://www.mountuneperformance.com/images/download...
That looks good!

richardaucock

93 posts

46 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
It would take some doing, but fast Ford experts are nothing but enterprising: Superchips Ecoboost engine in an RS Turbo, anyone..?

MycroftWard

2,955 posts

96 months

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Thursday 2nd August 2012 quote quote all
richardaucock said:
Superchips Ecoboost engine in an RS Turbo, anyone..?
Think I'd rather a YB or supercharged Zetec if I were going to the trouble.

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