The third generation Ford Focus RS has been designed to deliver driving pleasure optimised for both road and track.
The key to this versatility lies in a a sophisticated new all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring (enabling up to 70% of available torque to be fed to the rear wheels) coupled with a Drive Mode button which enables the driver to choose from four driving modes, two for the road and two for the track. These modes are:
Depending on which Drive Mode is selected, the settings of the following six key components are varied:
|All Wheel Drive (AWD) system||Normal / Sport / Drift|
|Dampers||Normal / Sport|
|Steering||Normal / Sport|
|Engine||Normal / Sport|
|Electronic Stability Control (ESC)||Normal / Sport|
|Exhaust Valve||Normal / Sport|
NORMAL mode is designed for everyday driving, whether it be a trip to the shops or a long-distance journey. As you’d expect, all six parameters are set to ‘Normal’.
Keen drivers seeking a little extra entertainment may, however, wish to switch to SPORT mode instead.
In SPORT mode, the steering, engine and exhaust valve are all set to ‘Sport’. This offers enhanced sound, increased steering feedback and quicker throttle response. In addition, the dampers can also be set to the firmer ‘Sport’ setting (about 40% stiffer than in the Normal setting). This provides greater feedback and control on very smooth surfaces, but on most road surfaces the best results will be achieved by setting the dampers to ‘Normal’.
Both NORMAL and SPORT are designed specifically for road use, but there are also two further Drive Modes designed solely for track use: TRACK and DRIFT.
In TRACK mode, all variables are set to ‘Sport’, but the driver has the option to select ‘Normal’ for the dampers and ESC.
TRACK mode is designed to allow the driver greater access to the cornering abilities of the Focus RS. In particular, the AWD and ESC settings allow for more aggressive on the limit handling to assist the driver to achieve optimal lap times.
The final mode, DRIFT, is designed to do just one thing: allow the driver to exploit the Focus RS’s ability to indulge in controlled slides. In DRIFT mode, the AWD system is set to ‘Drift’, the ESC, engine and exhaust valve to ‘Sport’ and the dampers and steering to ‘Normal’.
In DRIFT mode, the maximum available torque (i.e. 70% of the torque being produced by the engine) is delivered to the outer rear wheel to help initiate a slide, followed by the provision of equal torque to both rear wheels to help sustain a smooth slide.
A DRIVE MODE selection button is situated next to the gear lever, within easy reach of the driver. When the DRIVE MODE button is pressed, the current drive mode is displayed on the information screen.
Both the ESC and damper settings can also be altered using dedicated buttons. The dampers can be switched between Normal and Sport and the ESC can, if the driver desires, be switched off altogether.
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