Brian Joss –
A new era for fast Fords is dawning with the start of production of the new Focus RS performance hatch.
Ford expects to produce 41 000 performance cars for Europe in 2016, up from 29 000 in 2015. This represents an increase of 40 per cent year-over-year, and comes after 2015 sales of performance vehicles in Europe showed a 62 per cent increase compared with 2014.
Among models driving demand are the all-new Focus RS, the first of which has just rolled off the production line in Saarlouis, Germany; the Ford Mustang sports car for which Ford has now taken more than 13,000 orders in Europe; and the Focus ST and Fiesta ST hot hatch models.
With the all-new Ford GT still to come, Ford offers the most comprehensive range of performance models from compact hatchbacks to high‑performance supercars.
“This will be a truly remarkable year for Ford performance cars, with unprecedented performance capability, as well as sophisticated powertrain and chassis technologies including the new Ford Performance All Wheel Drive system for our Focus RS,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe.
The Focus RS is one of 12 new performance vehicles Ford will bring to customers globally through 2020. Developed by a team of Ford Performance engineers in Europe and America., the model is powered by a specially engineered version of Ford’s new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine delivering maximum power of 350 PS, and will sprint from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, making the high-performance hatchback the fastest accelerating Ford RS model yet.
The Focus RS pioneers innovative Ford Performance All Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring for a new level of handling, grip and cornering speed. Selectable Drive Modes – including an industry-first Drift Mode that allows controlled oversteer drifts – and Launch Control feature on the RS model for the first time.
Since order books first opened in September, customers have already placed more than 3,100 orders, and a further 250 000 people have configured a Focus RS on Ford websites.
The Focus RS will be introduced in South Africa in the second quarter of this year.
The Ford Mustang is available with Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 engine delivering 421 PS and reaching 100 km/h (62 mph) start in 4.8 seconds, or the more fuel-efficient 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine delivering 317 PS and reaching 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.8 seconds.
The all-new Ford Mustang’s high performance engines are supported by a standard Performance Pack in Europe that delivers uprated brakes and cooling for high-speed driving. A sophisticated chassis and body structure, and advanced technology including selectable Drive Modes and Track Apps, also help optimise driving dynamics to deliver the sporty experience Ford Mustang customers demand.
The Ford Mustang was the best-selling sports car across the globe during the first half of the 2015, according to global IHS Automotive registration data.
Fun and frugal ST models
Sales of the Ford Focus ST increased 160 per cent in 2015, compared with 2014, following the introduction early in the year of a new model available for the first time with a diesel engine. **
The new Ford Focus ST mixes performance with practicality; available in five-door and wagon bodystyles and with a new 185 PS 2.0-litre diesel engine that delivers 400 Nm of torque from 2,000-2,750 rpm alongside the proven 250 PS 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine.
Following the introduction of the new model in early 2015, 47 per cent of customers chose the diesel powertrain, which recently was made available with a 6-speed dual-clutch PowerShift transmission.
The new Focus ST diesel PowerShift model is Ford’s fastest accelerating diesel car ever, achieving 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 7.7 seconds – 0.4 seconds quicker than the manual variant – and delivering CO2 emissions of 119 g/km with combined fuel economy of 4.6 l/100km. The 2.0-litre EcoBoost model achieves 0-100 km/h acceleration in 6.5 seconds.
The Fiesta ST quickly established itself as the leading small performance hatchback in Europe following its introduction in Europe and around the world, with more than 20 awards and accolades within its first year on sale. Powered by a 182 PS 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine, the Fiesta ST sprints 0-100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. More than 30 000 Fiesta STs have now been sold across Europe, with more Fiesta ST news scheduled for later this year.
The ultimate machine
The first all-new Ford GT ultra-high-performance supercars also will go into production for a limited number of customers in Europe in late 2016.
Propelled by the most powerful Ford EcoBoost production engine ever – producing more than 600 horsepower and demonstrating remarkable efficiency – paired with a seven-speed paddle-shift transmission, the Ford GT is an ultra-high-performance supercar that serves as a technology showcase for Ford EcoBoost performance and innovations in aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fibre construction.