Fo­cus­ing the Chas­sis

NZ Autocar - - New Arrival -

The front sus­pen­sion uses the usual Mac strut ar­range­ment with re­vised ge­om­e­try and beefier links, in­clud­ing new steer­ing knuck­les. En­gi­neers wanted to in­crease the stiff­ness of the chas­sis, par­tic­u­larly in the rear, but mak­ing things dif­fi­cult is the fact the RS goes down the same pro­duc­tion line as a 1.0-litre Fo­cus, and they can’t slow the line down in or­der to fit too many ex­tra­ne­ous RS bits. Ford man­aged to beef up the rigid­ity by 23 per cent over a reg­u­lar Fo­cus with ad­di­tional brac­ing front and rear while also weld­ing a new rear cross­mem­ber to the floor and ex­tra re­in­forc­ing steel around the shock tow­ers in the boot. Along with ad­di­tional at­tach­ment points on the rear sub­frame, it’s said to help make the rear of the RS up to 200 per cent stiffer in key ar­eas, which all helps im­prove steer­ing re­sponse.

The RS gets two-stage dampers, (i.e., not con­tin­u­ously vari­able) while springs rates are one-third stiffer than an ST’s. In their hard mode, the dampers are 40 per cent stiffer, and this set­ting is in­tended for use on smooth tracks. The steer­ing gets its own map, and a fixed, high ra­tio rack with just 2.0 turns lock-to-lock.

Help­ing stop ev­ery­thing are 350mm ven­ti­lated front discs with alu­minium Brembo four-pot cal­lipers. The tyres were de­vel­oped by Miche­lin, which was ap­par­ently chal­leng­ing given the need for good front-end grip but also ac­com­mo­dat­ing the new Drift mode. This was achieved with a unique side­wall con­struc­tion and by mix­ing the rubber com­pounds through dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the tyre. There’s also an op­tional Sport Cup tyre too. While Ford doesn’t give a ’ring time, they did say the RS is 12-sec­onds faster on the op­tional Cup tyres, due to the tyre’s dif­fer­ent com­pound and the lesser tread pat­tern which gives it a seven per cent larger con­tact patch.

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