The new Ford Focus RS’s pioneering four-wheel-drive system will be installed in more cars, it has been confirmed, raising the prospect of Ford launching more performance oriented all-wheel-drive models.
Ford's All-Wheel-Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring system is by far the most significant mechanical upgrade to the Focus RS over previous generations of the car. Both the Focus RS Mk1 and Mk2 were front-wheel drive.
“We’ve done the hard part in developing it to production,” said Tyrone Johnson, RS engineering manager. “It would be fair to suggest that we’ll be looking to use the technology in other ways in the future, having done that.”
The all-wheel-drive system is based around twin electronically controlled clutch packs that are located on each side of the rear-drive unit, which operates like a limited slip differential by using sensors that monitor conditions 100 times per second to split power between the front and back wheels, and on either side of the rear axle.
Torque distribution to the rear axle and each rear wheel is infinitely variable, and 100% of available torque at the rear can be sent to each wheel. On the Focus RS, Ford says this “virtually eliminates understeer”, and that lateral grip in excess of 1G is possible.
Johnson would not be drawn on which cars would get the system next. However, it is unlikely to be the mooted Ford Fiesta RS. Insiders at Ford have already played down the chances of a more powerful version of the Fiesta ST being launched, and a four-wheel-drive system would add cost and weight to such a car.