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Ford Focus RS Exterior Bodywork

The Ford Focus RS utilises great performance which is underpinned by its exceptional aerodynamic design features that give it ‘zero lift’ to help push the car to its 165mph top speed.

The big bodywork changes include new front and rear bumper units and its exaggerated aerodynamic design is crucial to its handling since the boffins at Ford have created zero lift at both the front and rear ends.

That is in impressive car design achievement and means we aren’t simply looking at a hot hatch with big wings as the enhanced aerodynamics help to offer excellent levels of performance.

The new RS utilises the standard bonnet and front and rear wings from the Focus and designers found the cooling requirements for such a high performance car is not an easy task to address which explains why there appears to be big gaping holes in the nose.

The Ford Focus RS’s Aerodynamics Design

Ford Focus RS Rear Aero Design

However, the Ford Focus RS’s aerodynamic design is meant to be functional rather than just something pretty to look at. Indeed, its dramatic exterior design has been described as ‘aggressive’ by many and while it does resemble the ST, there’s no doubt that the RS has excellent aero design at its heart.

Indeed, the design was a crucial part of delivering superlative performance and the front end design undoubtedly spells out to other road users that this is a high performance vehicle.

Focus RS Rear Spoiler Design

One of the big differences in the design of the RS and the ST, for example, is that there is a big splitter in the nose which helps to push down the car at speed – this development also quickly led to the addition of a big spoiler to be fitted at the rear end to help counteract the effect brought about by the splitter’s introduction.

This large spoiler offers counterbalance to the RS’s aero design; there’s also a large functional diffuser fitted to the back end too.

Ford Focus 2016 Rear Diffuser
Ford Focus 2016 Rear Diffuser with integrated fog light

Aero design keeps the RS cool

In addition to the need for keeping the brakes cool, designers have had to overcome the issue of generating enough air to cool the engine as well through the front end while having a design that will offer zero lift.

The sleek aero design does keep the RS cool which helps to explain the number of air openings; the upper slot helps to keep the radiator cool, while the lower slot is for the intercooler.

The Focus RS aero body kit also has the largest cooling openings thanks to the hexagonal metal grille mesh in the nose of the car; the mesh size is smaller than is found on the standard Focus.

Focus RS Cooling Intakes

To help achieve the high levels of cooling necessary, the RS also has large air intakes so while the RS takes in more air there’s less of an obstructive force which will push the car upwards and effect its overall dynamic performance.

This is also boosted by shields which help to create a ram air effect: essentially, the ram air intake is a way for engineers to boost engine power by creating a larger massflow of air through the engine as this will increase the air pressure in the intake manifold.

The chief engineer for the project is Jamal Hameedi who, in one interview, said the RS is packed with new innovative technology to boost its track performance including a bespoke chassis, brakes, driver modes and an advanced drivetrain.

Jamal explains: “We have been doing a lot of aerodynamics development using wind tunnels and just like the Shelby GT 350, our objective for the RS was zero lift at the rear and the front. That is quite a lofty goal in a sports hatchback.”

Jamal adds: “There’s also an aggressive opening for the air cooler for the turbo.”

There can’t be anyone who argues with that statement since the Ford Focus RS aero design is an impressive and crucial element of what will be a successful hot hatch on our roads.


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