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Thursday 11th October 2012

Focus RS - the next generation

Ford hints at 350hp through the front wheels and a clever diff to tame it...



Ford has suggested the next Focus RS could get a clever active front limited-slip differential to tame torque steer in a car that could send as much as 350hp through the front wheels, much as VW is doing with the next-gen Golf GTI. Officially Ford hasn't even admitted it's doing another version of giant-slaying Focus, but of course it is and we're slowly discovering what form it'll take when it arrives in a year or two.

Can an active diff tame a more powerful RS?
Can an active diff tame a more powerful RS?
PistonHeads got talking to the powertrain engineering manager of European performance division Team RS (there's one clue), Len Urwin, who revealed his admiration for the active diff.

"You can drop a mechanical diff in as we did with the previous Focus RS ... but an E-diff would take that a step forward in that you can really optimize traction in all situations," he said. The helical Quaife diff in the last RS coped manfully with the 2.5-litre engine's 305hp, but the car still suffered torque steer and, as Urwin says, the system wasn't programmable.

As we learned in our differential masterclass, the problem with passive front LSDs is that the set-up is always a compromise. An active diff would theoretically remove those compromises.

RS Focuses have tried various diff options
RS Focuses have tried various diff options
Urwin's been up to Sweden in the snow to test an active diff called Twinster made by British engineering giants GKN (who also do the BMW M active diff). He came away impressed. "It works better than I expected," he told us. "It's on the list."

Four-wheel drive is also a possibility, but its use is hampered by the fact that the 4WD systems available within Ford are all the front-wheel biased Haldex type. "It's inherently an understeering system," Urwin said. "We would need to do something we could make fun to drive."

They're also heavy, but as he says, in terms of traction they're still superior to a front LSD.

The engine could be a version of the two-litre Ecoboost seen in the Focus ST, but tuned past the 250hp it makes in the 'warm' hatch. As it was pointed out, the same engine in the Radical SR3 SL makes closer to 300 hp. It would require a larger turbo we were told, but this causes problems. "If you size it too large and capable of too much power you lose bottom-end torque and response," said Urwin.

ST is already hot, RS would be more so
ST is already hot, RS would be more so
This wasn't talked about, but the more likely option is a 2.3-litre version of the Ecoboost rumoured to be under development in the States and capable of around 350hp. What is 99 per cent certain is that the next RS will be a five-door only, for the very good reason Ford hasn't got a three-door version of this generation Focus.

It'll also likely to be sold in the States for the first time, which is a good thing because the sheer numbers will bring economies of scale (ie affordability) for initially expensive integration of hardware like an E-diff.

At the end of the interview, Urwin had a question for us: what did we think PHers wanted in the next RS? We attempted to answer, but the best response would be "read the comments." Here's your chance - over to you!

 

NickGibbs
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Author Discussion

Regiment

Original Poster:

2,187 posts

46 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
What makes the Ford Focus RS, any of the generations, a "giant-slaying" vehicle, when it struggles to beat any of its much less powerful competition?

It's just a standard hot-hatch sold to people who care more about outrageous style and hp figures than "slaying giants" on the track or on the road.

David87

3,259 posts

99 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
The RS500 / Mountune MP350 isn't really any more unruly than the standard car with the Mk2, so I guess the Mk3 will get by with FWD. That said, my current Focus RS will be my last FWD performance car.

adz13091982

166 posts

55 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
I'll say it before anyone else does - 350bhp through 4 wheels would be better smile
But seriously that does seems a lot of power for a FWD car, there must come a point where no amount of power will make a FWD go any faster and handling is compromised.

JonLock

144 posts

58 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
5 door. ruined already!

hughcam

172 posts

52 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
I would like to see an interior that isnt crap
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dino ferrana

771 posts

139 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Pistonheads writers, can we have our articles in English please, not in American? Optimise is spelt with an "s" chaps, not a "z"!

scoobyp1

5 posts

110 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Really ??? 5 doors and FWD ? What numpty thought this was a good idea...
Surely the feedback from the last RS would tell Ford that they need to go RWD or 4WD.

Fire99

8,706 posts

116 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
This isn't a FWD bashing post. (Some are great. Integra Type-R etc)

However, with all this work (and money) on clever diffs / suspension, would it not just be easier to make the car RWD and be done with it. With all the current 'form over function' designs, would a RWD transmission tunnel really cause that much of a problem?

Uncle John

660 posts

78 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Regiment said:
What makes the Ford Focus RS, any of the generations, a "giant-slaying" vehicle, when it struggles to beat any of its much less powerful competition?

It's just a standard hot-hatch sold to people who care more about outrageous style and hp figures than "slaying giants" on the track or on the road.
Have you driven one?

As already said, ruined already due to the 5 door shape.

V8RX7

9,547 posts

150 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
adz13091982 said:
350bhp through 4 wheels would be better
^^^This x1,000,000

I know it will cost more to develop but either do it properly or don't do it at all.

Then add a diff control to make it selectable RWD.

biggrin

OlberJ

13,978 posts

120 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
4WD is the only thing that is going to make it worthwhile.

And a Cosworth badge.

LuS1fer

31,784 posts

132 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
I think the last RS was too over the top "Halfords-styled" and not very successful from an appearance point of view. This new one has a hill to climb there because even the basic car looks Korean and I hate those rear lights.

Wouldn't they be better off waiting for the RHD Mustang with its RWD chassis?

trando

353 posts

58 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
hughcam said:
I would like to see an interior that isnt crap
+ 1

Ashley1987

293 posts

26 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
hughcam said:
I would like to see an interior that isnt crap
...and I want a 12" cock but farming never was my strongpoint.

adz13091982

166 posts

55 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Fire99 said:
This isn't a FWD bashing post. (Some are great. Integra Type-R etc)
I agree and the Intergra doesn't even make 200hp.

TonyHetherington

31,848 posts

137 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
3 posts before "4WD" was mentioned rofl (though I appreciate you said it knowing its obviousness!).

I fear it's clear that's never going to happen, though I too would like to see it, for my own amusement - no more.

Baryonyx

10,325 posts

46 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Surely Ford have the know how to develop a proper a AWD system than having to rely on some Haldex based thing.

macdeb

5,104 posts

142 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
scoobyp1 said:
Really ??? 5 doors and FWD ? What numpty thought this was a good idea...
Surely the feedback from the last RS would tell Ford that they need to go RWD or 4WD.
^^^^ yesyes exactly my thoughts, FWD and 5 door? 'R'eally 'S'hit idea.


Edited by macdeb on Thursday 11th October 13:30


Edited by macdeb on Thursday 11th October 13:32

TobyLaRohne

4,608 posts

93 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
4wd should be the top of everyones list, I love the focus but it needs to be 3door and 4wd for me to even consider it as an option...Ford need to take the fight to the RS3

Centurion07

3,647 posts

134 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th October 2012 quote quote all
Why do Ford insist on making it FWD? There must be a pretty good reason why seeing as almost everybody sems to agree that RWD or, even better, AWD, is what people want to see.

So what is it?
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