Ford Focus RS Hot Hatch Wins Prestigious Dynamics Awards

2016-05-10 06:00
 Photo: supplied The Ford Focus.

Photo: supplied The Ford Focus.

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THE all-new Ford Focus RS has won Car of the Year at the prestigious 2016 Vehicle Dynamics International (VDI) Awards.

The Ford Performance team that developed the widely-acclaimed high-performance hatchback also has won Dynamics Team of the Year at the VDI Awards.

A jury of 23 independent automotive journalists from around the world praised the Focus RS for “handling characteristics the opposition can’t match” and its “pure driving pleasure”.

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.

Demand for the high-performance hatchback is accelerating fast, with 6,200 vehicles already ordered by European customers – almost double Ford expectations – and the Nitrous Blue paint colour among the most popular options.

“We set the bar high for the Focus RS, to deliver a world-beating hot hatch worthy of the Rallye Sport badge with the most exhilarating and dynamic RS driving experience yet,” said Tyrone Johnson, vehicle engineering manager, Ford Performance.

“Ford Performance is honoured to receive two awards from Vehicle Dynamics International, and proud to have developed a car that sets new standards for affordable hot hatch performance.”

The annual VDI awards recognise the best ideas, technology innovation and achievements in vehicle dynamics development.

Ford now has won six VDI awards – more than any other manufacturer – including four Dynamics Team of the Year awards.

This year’s double success follows a similar achievement in 2013, when Ford won Dynamics Team of the Year and Ford vehicle dynamics specialist David Put won Dynamicist of the Year.

The Focus RS is the first Ford vehicle to win in the Car of the Year category.

Developed by Ford Performance engineers in Europe and the U.S., the model is powered by a specially engineered version of Ford’s 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine delivering 350 PS, and sprints from 0-100 km/h (0.62 mph) in 4.7 seconds, making it the fastest accelerating Ford RS model ever.

Jurors said of the Focus RS:

· “... Ford’s Focus RS has completely rewritten the hot hatch rulebook,” Alvaro Sauras, Autofácil/EVO, Spain

“Ford Focus RS is… by far the most entertaining to drive owing to neutral and oversteer handling characteristics that the opposition can’t match,” Nicol Louw, CAR magazine, South Africa

“The Focus RS simply rewrites the rulebook for how sporting hatchbacks behave. The combination of handling prowess, safety and security, and the sheer hooliganism of Drift Mode blends performance and pure driving pleasure like few cars ever have,” Jim Kenzie, Toronto Star, Canada

Jurors said of the Ford Performance team:

· “… when the Blue Oval skunkworks teams are let off the leash, magic inevitably follows,” Brian Cowan, motoring writer, New Zealand.

Focus RS arrives with customers

Full production of the Focus RS – also crowned 2016 Car of the Year by Top Gear magazine, U.K. – is under way at Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany assembly plant and the first cars are now arriving with Ford Performance fans across the region.

The initial wave of European orders reveals that the signature Nitrous Blue paint colour has been selected by more than half of all Focus RS customers, making it more than three times as popular as the second favourite colour choice, Frozen White.

Reflecting the car’s high-performance nature, more than 50 per cent of customers have opted for the distinctive RS Recaro shell front seats offering increased lateral support for fast road and track driving, while 60 per cent have specified the lightweight forged alloy wheels finished in low-gloss black that offer enhanced strength and impact resistance, with weight savings of 950 g per wheel.

The most popular option of all is the RS blue paint finish for the powerful Brembo brake callipers, chosen by more than two-thirds of Focus RS customers.

The all-new Focus RS is spearheading a new era of growth in performance Fords for Europe, with sales this year expected to increase by 50 per cent compared with 2015, which in turn saw performance car sales rise by 61 per cent compared with 2014.

Alongside models like the Fiesta ST, new Fiesta ST200, Focus ST, Ford Mustang and Ford GT supercar, Focus RS will contribute to sales of 40,000 performance cars for Europe in 2016.

- Supplied

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