A system that complex?! In a hatchback?! SWEET!
The Ford Focus RS is one of the most highly anticipated hot hatchbacks of the 21st Century. Its 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque are enough to eat Golf GTIs for breakfast. We've been following the hot hatch's development closely and especially enjoy the making-of documentary series Ford has put out. This time we bring you some very next-level technical news. The Ford Focus RS will have an advanced torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system and we think it's pretty damn cool such complex tech will be inside a hatchback.
Automobilemag had an interview with Jim Fritz, Ford’s all-wheel-drive systems engineer and with Ray Kuczera, the vice president for global product technology at GKN driveline, to get more details about this technology. Called the Twinster system, the two wet clutches in the rear driveline module replace the standard front-wheel-drive Focus's rear differential. Kuczera says that "the clutches are constantly moving to controlled states between full open and full lock as determined by the torque control portion of the AWD software." The Focus RS has different driving modes and the system works differently depending on the mode it's in including Normal, Sport, Drift and Track Modes.
Fritz adds by saying that "in the Normal and Sport mode, we're still trying to provide full function all-wheel-drive capability." Basically, the car can be driven like a normal car in Normal or Sport mode. Fritz also says that "Moving to the Track mode, the goal is to get the best lap times possible" and that "the Drift mode is all about trying to get the car to drift." So in Track mode the ability to drift is limited because, while cool, drifting kills lap times. Fritz also says that the "active, on-demand system can send up to 100 percent of the available torque to the rear axle. Once it hits the rear axle, it can send up to 100 percent of that torque to individual left and right sides." Basically, you'll always have some control unless all wheels are airborne...we think.
That's a lot to take in but it just shows how much cooler the Focus RS is compared to any other hatchback. We can't wait to see how it performs on the road and track. Contrary to our initial view, the hot hatchback seems to be worth every bit of what Ford is asking for it.