Ford developed the dynamic torque vectoring system to give it the ideal handling characteristics, and work alongside the complex all-wheel-drive system to produce all-wheel-drive traction with rear-wheel-drive handling matched with incredible cornering speed, agility and grip.
Torque vectoring control (a new technology developed through motorsport advancements) is an advanced computer system included in many high-performance vehicles. The function utilises the braking system to replicate the effect of a torque vectoring differential system.
The Focus RS AWD system is tuned to distribute lateral acceleration grip exceeding 1g – and help the driver achieve super-fast cornering speed and acceleration through a bend.
The torque vectoring system does not interfere with any driving or braking movements carried out on the car whilst it is in use (including acceleration and deceleration). When the torque is applied to the front wheels of the vehicle, the control system engages increased steering reaction force.
Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance explained: “We have ripped up the rulebook which says that AWD hatchbacks cannot be fun to drive, and have created a car which will surprise and reward in equal measure. This AWD system is a breakthrough technology, capable of delivering supreme cornering and handling at the limit.”
The dynamic torque vectoring system is founded on electronically-controlled clutch packs which can be found on both the left and right of the rear-drive-unit. The clutch packs are responsible for managing torque split from the front-to-rear, and side-to-side between the rear axle to influence handling and solidity around corners.
Dynamic torque vectoring reads the road conditions and driving situation to distribute torque around the vehicle, monitoring the conditions (including steering angle, yaw, speed and lateral acceleration) at 100 times a second using intelligent vehicle sensors. Up to 100 percent of torque can be distributed to the rear axle and 100 percent then passed on to each wheel.
The system kicks in when the vehicle is accelerating through corners and works by applying partial braking to the front-inside wheel, so more of the engine torque is sent to the outer rear wheels – specifically designed to have more grip on the road. The technology allows the engine torque to vary the braking and driving power to each of the wheels, according to how much is needed. The innovative system allows drivers to take corners safely (eliminating wheel spin), but smoothly and at high speed. The transfer of torque simulates the effect of driving the RS into the bend, and understeer is eliminated.
To put it more simply, the vehicle and system can predict when a wheel is about to spin, and will apply braking to that wheel until the speed is the same as it is on all wheels. Drivers can keep their foot on the acceleration when they’re travelling fast, travelling on wet roads with bad weather conditions, and taking tricky corners.
People choose dynamic torque vectoring on their vehicles so they can still have an exhilarating drive, but also have confidence in the car’s ability to handle different situations and roads. The system reacts closely to the conditions and the drivers steering input.
Assistance and support in icy/bad weather conditions
Improved vehicle handling
Many older vehicles have a limited torque differential, which is a much less advanced version of torque vectoring. This system can only transfer one hundred percent of power between the front and rear wheel axles, which can be unhelpful in certain situations, particularly off-road. Some even older vehicles have no torque differential at all. The feature is a relatively new development that has only started appearing in new vehicles in recent years.
Competitor models which showcase this innovative feature include the popular Jaguar F-Type, Mitsubishi Evo, BMW X5 and surprisingly, the Nissan Juke.
In many competitor models with similar dynamic torque vectoring systems, the brake system is specifically altered on the front inner wheel to assist the car with travelling around corners. However, touching the brakes means that the vehicle will lose speed, so Ford came up with a way to conquer that issue. The dynamic torque vectoring system used in the Ford Focus RS sends drive torque to the outer wheel, which actually pushes the car round the bend using power from the rear of the vehicle, and increases speed.
The torque vectoring system allows the driver to maintain their speed and control, no matter what the road brings. The system is designed so that the vehicle can keep up with driver inputs, creating a more dynamic driving experience.
The torque system uses straight-line traction similar to the conventional all-wheel-drive system, but has all the handling capabilities of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.
Excessive brake wear is significantly reduced due to torque being applied directly to the specific wheels that need it, rather than relying on the braking system to slow the vehicle down. Speed and performance is consequently improved through increased control, feel, handling and grip on the road.
The AWD system was calibrated alongside the electronic stability control and torque control system which uses the brakes to assist the torque vectoring AWD system.
Similarly to the all-wheel-drive, the torque vectoring system was also designed by leading British automotive manufacturer GKN Driveline, meaning the two components work seamlessly together to produce the desired output.
GKN Driveline Vice President of Global Product Technology Dr. Ray Kuczera said: “GKN is the only supplier with the expertise and capability to deliver this diverse hardware as well as the vehicle integration through software and performance calibrations. To deliver torque vectoring systems of this calibre requires engineers who understand vehicle dynamics and have the ability to partner with an automaker on vehicle level attributes.
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