What is the one car that all enthusiast are consistently talking about at the moment? From our experience, it is the 2016 Ford Focus RS. This is Ford’s first time bringing a RS model Ford to the United States. To say the Right Foot Down team is excited is an understatement. For the first time, a US market Ford Focus comes equipped with all-wheel-drive. With 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, it needs all the power going to all the wheels. As a previous owner of a 2013 Ford Focus ST, I had some questions that needed to be answered. If you have a questions about the Ford Focus RS, who better to ask than the person in charge of development of the Ford Focus RS?
I was able to talk with Raj Nair at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this week. Raj Nair is the Group Vice President and Chief Technical Officer at Ford Motor Company, and has been in charge of the development of the Ford Focus RS. The Focus RS is a special car for Raj. When he was working for Ford Europe his company car was a Escort Cosworth RS, the holy grail of Ford enthusiast performance cars. He daily drove the Escort, even had a child seat in the back. When it came time for Ford to take the car back, he had a hard time giving it up.
There were two things about the Ford Focus RS that I had questions about. First, the seats. As an owner of a Focus ST, the seats were my number one complaint. I asked Raj if they are the same as in the Focus ST, and he wasn’t sure. I sat in the new RS to check, and aside from the alcantara material, it seems to be same as the Focus ST seats. So if you don’t fit the Focus ST seats, the Focus RS seats will be tight. My second question was whether the front axle is a limited slip differential. He said that the most important piece of the car was the rear differential and its ability to send 100% of the power to either wheel, helping the car’s handling drastically.
Raj’s current garage contains a Ford Explorer and a Mustang GT350R. We asked Raj if he was going to buy a Focus RS, but he said that he’s currently saving his pennies and garage space for the new Ford GT. We salute you Raj for your enthusiast garage and thank you for you time. Take a look out our video, shot live on the NAIAS floor at the COBO Center for more on the fantastic Focus RS.