A bit of the old Block
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.