I truly believe that there's several reasons to applaud Ford for this option for the RS. Aside that they're leading the marketing by being the first to offer such a package, it shows that they did their research - they know their customers. Picture, you've just taken delivery of your all-new 350-horsepower Focus RS - why wouldn't you want to shred the roads year-round?
It's my opinion that the majority of future RS owners will want to fully utilize their vehicle - it's fun and functional, and they're going to get the most enjoyment and use out of this investment. Don't get me wrong, I'm all-in on purpose built street, race, and even show cars - but I think this vehicle will best serve the year-round fun-haver.
I'll also admit, that there will be (and I hope so!) very large groups of owners pushing the limits of the Focus RS in various niche and high-performance segments. Let's just say, we've yet to imagine the full potential of this AWD beast.
- Aaron Vaccar
THE OFFICIAL WORD:
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 17, 2016 – Customers of Ford’s all-new all-wheel-drive 350-horsepower Focus RS will now be able to order a fully certified winter tire kit for great driving enjoyment in the snow.
The Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package offers customers a unique set of wheels and tires – the first time an original equipment manufacturer is making a check-the-box winter tire option available in North America.
“We started this project knowing what our RS customers really want out of their cars,” says Adam Wirth, chassis supervisor, Ford Performance. “This tire package allows RS owners to continue spirited driving even in the snow.”
Ford Performance developed this package so the most demanding Focus customers can be outfitted with optimum equipment for winter conditions. The challenge was that normal vehicle testing procedures require certification with production wheels and tires; winter-only standards had never been authored. To bring this package to owners, the first step Ford Performance had to undertake was creating a new set of standards specifically suited for brutal winter conditions.
These new standards were put to the test in extreme cold and snow in Northern Michigan and Sweden, to guarantee the quality and performance Ford customers expect. Engineers and technicians tested a wide variety of high-performance winter tire and wheel setups to determine the optimum combination for ride, handling and performance in various wintry conditions.
The winning setup is a 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tire mounted to a new 18x7.5-inch wheel, which looks very similar to the base Focus RS option, but is finished in sparkle silver to hide salt spray. The set is complete with tire pressure monitoring sensors and center caps fully mounted and balanced and ready for installation at the dealer.
The wheel and tire are narrower, to provide improved snow traction, while the overall diameter is smaller, so owners can fit chains if necessary.
“We fully expect our more extreme-weather customers to take advantage of the ability to use snow chains,” Wirth says a smirk.
The Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive fitted to Focus RS will take full advantage of these new winter tires.
“Settings are completely driver-preference,” notes Wirth. “Customers are able to utilize all four drive modes to suit their driving style in winter conditions.”
Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package is available only in North America – a $1,995 option. For customers in Canada, the package comes standard on Focus RS. The Focus RS arrives at dealerships in North America this spring.
<Info Source: Ford Motor Company>