If they are to be believed (and usually they are) Ford’s engineers have come up with an awfully complex new suspension system which they call the revo-knuckle, and apparently this all but eradicates torque steer when it’s applied to a traditional suspension strut.
Used in conjunction with a Quaife limited slip diff, it means you can apparently put a zillion lb ft of torque through the front axle without so much as a whiff of torque steer – although all we can do at the moment is wait to drive the RS for ourselves to either prove or disprove the theory.
So long as they’re not fibbing and the RS doesn’t do an impression of an early ‘90s turbocharged Saab, I’m glad that Ford hasn’t made the RS four-wheel drive.
Granted, all-paw systems give more traction and allow you to put more power onto the road, especially when the going is slippery. But they add weight, cost and technical complexity while knocking fuel consumption and emissions.
In fact, apart from pure traction, there’s not a while lot going for four-wheel drive nowadays, assuming a company has the know-how to make a front-driver handle however much torque gets transmitted by the front tyres. Given how generally well mannered the ST Focus is, you have to give Ford the benefit of the doubt in this instance.
True, the previous Focus RS was a wild animal on the wrong road, but you need to remember two things about that car. First, people who said it had too much torque steer were total wimps (on the right road it was a fabulously sharp and committed car to drive.) And secondly, that it was developed by a team of people who did things differently to the mob who are in charge today.
Team RS boss Jost Capito has forgotten more about chassis tuning than most engineers learn in a lifetime, but he’s also got a seriously astute business brain. He knows that there’s no point creating this RS unless it’s going to make money for the company. That means it has to appeal to enthusiasts across Europe, and that means it has to deal with a wet British “B” road with the same aplomb it digests a smooth Alpine pass.
The truth is, I can barely wait to have a go in the new RS. And if it winds itself from one side of the road to the other under full acceleration I’ll be very surprised indeed.
More than that, I’ll be furious.