In the run-up to the unveiling ceremony for its new RS, Ford rolled out the red carpet for the car's forebearers. Visitors to the carmaker's facility in Cologne loved it.
Ford started the countdown to the official launch of the latest-generation RS with a surprise appearance. The prototype was piloted over the carmaker's factory grounds by rally racer and internet phenomenon Ken Block.
On the way to the presentation, it was his job to show off how well the car handles -- even when pushed to the limit -- by maneuvering past some expensive obstacles.
It was a final test for the new RS, which looks set to find a new fan base outside the sport as well. Guests were impressed. The pro was too:
Ken Block, Rally Driver
„Well, I mean I’m very happy that Ford has developed the RS again, brought the heritage back to the RS brand but on top of that developing it with all-wheel drive and more horsepower than they have in the past is amazing. So it has been cool to have been a part of the developing process on such a very good car.”
The audience got a look at what the new top-of-the-line Focus can do, but only saw the final design after it had been put through its paces. That's when Ford pulled off the wrapping paper on the new compact made in Cologne. The look is radical for the carmaker.
Ernesto Rupar, Ford
Ford design manager Ernesto Rupar says the Focus RS was developed here in Cologne, but the overall design was a joint effort with the Ford Performance Team in Detroit.
Performance is everything in the compact sports car segment. Cooling, aerodynamics and technology have to be top-notch.
Jürgen Gagstatter, Performance Cars Ford Europa
The model's head engineer says its motor -- which is the same as the Mustang's -- has a 2-point-3 liter eco-boost. It's been fundamentally altered and adapted in the RS. It was implemented in conjunction with the all-wheel drive of course, he says.
That latter feature appears to have been made for Ken Block's extreme driving style. He's glad Ford has implemented the change.
So I have been pushing that for years and Ford really listened and listened not only to me but their customers. The customers wanted that too. So really that initial development of the all-wheel-drive and the idea that was something I was able to help with and since then I have been able to help with the testing and the tuning of the all-wheel-drive-system and the suspension. So that’s mainly what I’ve been involved with.”
In combination with the carmaker's Torque Vectoring technology, the all-wheel drive can distribute up to 70% of the engine's 235 kilowatts of output to the rear wheels, and up to 100% of that to the outside wheel in a curve. So lateral acceleration of up to one 'g' poses no problem. Hungry fans will have to be patient though. It's still unclear exactly when the new RS will hit the market.