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Ford Focus RS in the super test on the Nordschleife: sporty front-wheel drive as driving dynamics

Rossen Gargolov
Ford Focus RS in the super test on the Nordschleife
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M it the concept of being in spite of deep black Giving soul a green coat of paint has already been able to publicly put themselves in the right light by the great party of opportunists. But this kind of dishonesty can really not be attributed to the Ford Focus RS, to which the Ford sports department TeamRS has given the paint job 'Ultimate Green' as the main color for the urgent journey. During the test, it was conspicuously green because, according to the interpretation of the designers, the bright color is so energetic and can convey the spirit and power of the RS in a daring way.

Reminiscence of the Focus RS WRC from the World Rally Championship

But that's not all: The green appearance can also be reminiscent of the Focus RS WRC from the World Rally Championship and the sponsor BP and is also inspired by the classic Le Mans green of its oldest ancestor, the legendary Escort RS 1600 from 1970. In view of this background, which is very meaningful in terms of color, the two alternative finishes 'frost white' and 'Indianapolis blue' almost come up therefore already meaningless - although: According to Ford, these are also symbolic colors. Namely that of the Ford Focus RS of the first generation, which from 2002 onwards had a similarly committed fan base, as well as almost all of the 22 Ford models that have been awarded the famous RS logo in its 38-year history. These include such distinctive and unforgettable treasures as the Capri RS 2600 from 1970, the RS 200 from 1985 and the Sierra RS 500 Cosworth from 1987.

The Ford Focus appears to be green in the political sense RS at most in the prospectus, although its origin allows one to counter provocative indecentions with regard to its reasoning with conclusive arguments. After all, he is the descendant of a sensible, compact middle class and thus certainly not an environmental risk taker. Showcasing his sporty ethos in a striking way is a visible affair of the heart for him: with wide flared wheel arches and appropriately modeled side skirts, various ventilation openings on the flanks and on the bonnet, an imposing, double-winged roof spoiler, two forearm-thick exhaust pipes and a huge lower air intake the front, in its trapezoidal shape with a black backgroundalmost gives the impression that it wants to eat up the road.

Ford Focus RS follows the principles of motorsport

The principle of motorsport is the one assembled on the production line in Saarlouis Focus RS is more consistently committed than any other in its class - which in no way diminishes its success, but has rather spurred it on. Despite all the scrapping and other bonuses, Ford Cologne allowed itself a price increase of 1,000 to 34,900 euros shortly after the market launch - but this has not reduced demand: the complete batch for 2009 (1,000 pieces) has already sold out, which is still the case in view of this comparatively low cost price is certainly no surprise. After all, we are dealing with a clearly arranged compact sports car that does not care about a consensus either visually or in terms of drive, but with a generous 305 hp is inclined to give the competition a real treat at every opportunity.

The engine, blessed with a displacement of 2.5 liters and pressurized by a Borg Warner turbocharger integrated directly in the exhaust manifold, is known in its basic features from the Ford Focus ST, but it is special in that it does not - how Up to now common in this class - with four or, in exceptional cases, six cylinders, but with five of them in the race for sympathy. The acoustic contribution of this motorized nonconformist installed across the front contributes at least as much to the entertainment as the highly stimulating development of performance, which can also and especially arouse real enthusiasm in public surroundings.

Ford Focus RS with five-cylinder turbo engine in its purest form

The connoisseur will appreciate that the shape of the power or torque curve is largely determined by the way a turbocharger works the matter is not only clear when looking at the corresponding curves. With the powerful acceleration just above idle speed, an angry peak at 4,000 rpm and a subjectively slightly decreasing but virtually constant power development from 5,000 rpm to the speed limit at almost 7,000 rpm, the five-cylinder comes out as a turbo engine of the purest form. Only the turbo commemorative second, which was declared indispensable in the early beginnings of the turbo, must be dispensed with.

The RS engine responds to performance queries as spontaneously as a vacuum cleaner. But in contrast to naturally aspirated engines, which, due to their continuously increasing power development, now tend to favor rather high speeds in order to get into the range of their greatest persuasive power, this engine characteristic allows a much more relaxed procedure: early upshifts, i.e. taking advantage of the immense, between 2,300 and 4,500 /min evenly applied torque of 440 Newton meters is much more effective than into act near the red speed range. The sonorous, meaningful five-cylinder sound, the subliminal, angry noise under full boost pressure and the afterburner noise generated in the exhaust system when shifting - a dry plop - has acoustically great analogies to the sounds of a World Rally Car based on the Focus RS.

Traction properties of the type of an all-wheel drive Focus WRC

Anyone who does not know the tremendous traction properties of the rally machine from the type of an all-wheel drive Focus WRC could, given the highly agile one Moving forward think that the RS would not only be blessed with its torque, but also with its complex drive system. In truth, it is - unfortunately or thank God - only a front-wheel drive with which the RS is presented, but one that has a lot to offer in terms of construction. Instead of the classic McPherson strut construction, a so-called 'Revo' axle is used, in which the steering knuckle, which otherwise consists of one piece, is divided into two parts: one part fixes the strut and the lower wishbone, the other rotates around the steering axis of the vehicle. Similar to a double wishbone construction, this axle minimizes, for example, the critical distance between the wheel center and the steering axle - the so-called disturbance force lever arm - to less than half of what would be possible with a conventional McPherson architecture with a wide-gauge chassis.

In order to further improve the traction of this patented design, the electronic options, such as artificial torque limitation or selective braking intervention, were not primarily used - as is currently the case in Wolfsburg, for example - but instead the ideal constructive approach was chosen: the planetary gear The design of the mechanical “Quaife” limited-slip differential uses the friction of the gear wheels, which increases with increasing speed, which creates the locking effect gently and without any rough shifting of the torque. In addition, this structurally top-class axle allows extensive adjustment options, which are otherwise only offered by double wishbone layouts of thoroughbred racing cars, in order to come as close as possible to the optimum drive technology under the different conditions.

The two-door model weighs 1,485 kg with a full tank

A sporting use of the Ford Focus RS is obvious from this point of view, albeit in terms of weight does not necessarily have the best prerequisites for this. After all, the two-door model is fully fueled and weighs almost 1,500 kilograms on its 19-inch wheels. The bottom line is that chassis and drive technology can definitely be viewed as a milestone. So the convincing traction properties of the Focus RS are always done to give the front-wheel drive the extensive blessing and its previous, often negativeForgetting to influence the steering, for example. In extreme cases, such as at the exit of the Ex-Mühle section of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, at most a slight twitch in the steering wheel indicates that the lush torque of the five-cylinder turbo is only being brought to the road via the front wheels.

The appearance of a front-wheel drive couldn't be more convincing

However, this is also due to the fact that the driving behavior of the Focus RS does not generally give the slightest reason to do so Basically common, but from a sporting point of view not always convincing concept to even begin to express mistrust. The fact, for example, that the requirement of driving safety was asserted under all circumstances is extremely significant in that the driving dynamics properties are at the same time at the highest level. When there is talk of an urgent rear end, it is not because it is deplorable, but because it harbors highly productive properties in terms of agility. The generally slight tendency to understeer can be compensated for in medium-speed bends with a somewhat jagged steering maneuver, so that in the end a neutral driving behavior is achieved.

The risk that this constructive twisting of the stern, viewed through sporty glasses, ends in a twist is extremely low, even with unprofessional load changes. Firstly, because the rear always swings gently and completely without counter-inclination onto the line given by the front axle and secondly because, contrary to the assumption, an electronic lifeline always remains active in the background. Before the ESP, which is only apparently completely deactivated by the switch, intervenes gently, there must be extreme deviations from proper use. After all, the timed journeys in Hockenheim and on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring were spared access by the electronics, which can only have two reasons: Either they were discovered by the monitoring electronics as being systemically relevant or the interventions were not registered by the driver. Be that as it may: This form of redundancy system is also popular with driving dynamics activists.

Sports tire alternative for the Ford Focus RS

The idea of ​​doing a super test twice To produce, namely one with the factory-fitted series tires and the other with the only approved sports tire alternative Toyo Proxes R888, was an urgent necessity when the Focus RS literally screamed for it after intensive enjoyment on the small course in Hockenheim (see individual test Ford Focus RS ): The Conti SportContact 3, known to be a fixture both in wet conditions and in ride comfort, has proven itselfCan hardly handle the increased demands in terms of lateral dynamics for longer than two or three fast laps. The driving dynamics progress brought about by the sports tires in the form of 1.2 seconds ahead of the small circuit in Hockenheim, however, when viewed in light, is not in proportion to the disadvantages that have to be accepted with the Proxes R888 - which is why the points evaluation on the Conti tires is based. A wet grip, which can hardly be called such, and a rolling comfort that is reminiscent of winter tires from the 1960s, especially in terms of noise, are not enough to justify the advantages in terms of agility. We'd rather let the Contis squeak.

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