A bit of the old Block

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - CARSGUIDE - Chris Ri­ley

1 The RS and the Mus­tang have a com­mon en­gine

The 2.3-litre turbo is es­sen­tially the same as in the four-cylin­der Mus­tang. Ford says the en­gine was de­signed specif­i­cally for the Mus­tang but has been heav­ily re­worked for its new role, with a dif­fer­ent tur­bocharger among many changes . The pony car’s out­puts are 233kW/432Nm but the fet­tled Fo­cus boosts these to 257kW/440Nm (470Nm briefly on over­boost).

2 Ken Block had a hand in its de­vel­op­ment

The pro rally driver was brought in as a con­sul­tant on the project. Block per­forms some truly amaz­ing stunts in his vi­ral videos — in his lat­est, Gymkhana Nine, he drives a Fo­cus — and his stamp is all over the car. It is able to de­liver seem­ingly ef­fort­less but con­trolled over­steer, oth­er­wise known as drift.

3 The RS stars in its own doco

Eight short doc­u­men­tarystyle videos on­line fol­low the car’s de­vel­op­ment. “Re­birth of an Icon” is a be­hind the scenes, warts and all look at the pro­gram. Join en­gi­neers and driv­ers as they put the RS through its paces un­der the care­ful watch of Block and chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer Raj Nair. Lo­ca­tions range from the sear­ing heat of Ari­zona to the icy wastes of the Arc­tic.

4 There’s no auto op­tion

The RS comes ex­clu­sively with a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion. In this way, Ford says, it re­mains true to the goal of producing the most ex­hil­a­rat­ing, en­gag­ing driver in­volve­ment. Not only would an auto bump up the price but the ex­tra weight also would af­fect the way it han­dles. There are no plans to in­tro­duce an auto, dual-clutch or oth­er­wise. Purists will ap­plaud the stand but it could lose po­ten­tial buy­ers — those want­ing the con­ve­nience of an auto will prob­a­bly look else­where.

5 Drift mode has had a po­lar­is­ing ef­fect

The RS‘s Drift mode set­ting al­lows ex­trav­a­gant over­steer, with the rear fish­tail­ing like a race car. The fea­ture was deleted from the Mus­tang but left en­abled in the RS, spark­ing plenty of con­tro­versy and prompt­ing Ford to warn it’s meant to be used only on a race­track. Safety ad­vo­cates have called for the fea­ture to be banned. Drift­ing on public roads could mean a hefty fine and loss of li­cence. Or life.

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