Who is Revolutionizing AWD Systems?
Starting this discussion we have to look at what automakers have the greatest reputation for their AWD systems and the first name that comes to mind is Subaru. As the king of AWD systems, Subaru puts them in just about every model they build. Of course there is Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all with great AWD systems in the luxury class, but so many of us are unable to shop in the luxury realm that these don’t affect us at all. What might not be expected is a dynamic and new AWD system to be found from one of America’s Big Three, Ford.
Yes, Ford has created an AWD system that will blow the minds of Subaru and the luxury makers and the idea is actually a very simple one. The shocking part is not really that it comes from Ford; they did create a truck with an all-aluminum body after all, but that it’s found in one of the most popular cars on the market, the Ford Focus. While the Focus is highly popular, a majority of them are daily commuter cars, but the Ford Focus RS shows us that that engineers and designers at Ford know how to have some fun too.
This version of the Focus shows up with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with over 320 horsepower and an AWD system. This AWD system is really dynamic in one particular what that others are not. Instead of just giving power to all the wheels (that is what all-wheel drive is for) this system actually provides power to both axles in a side to side manner. This allows for greater control and actual side by side torque vectoring which helps to give you much more control when driving the car and the ability to push it past the normal limitations.
This system is not completely new, but is very similar to the one found in Land Rover’s Active Driveline on the Range Rover Evoque. Using the same twin electronically-controlled clutches the rear axle can send more torque to the wheels which gives more power in the back and a better overall control of the power to reach the limits of driving in this amazing car. If this isn’t a great example of Ford having a great time with a car that has been relegated as a daily driver for many years, I’m not sure what is.
Is this system going to be limited to the Focus RS; not a chance, it is expected to be put into many other products over the next few years to make more use of the power in any one of the multitude of Ford models. This will take some time and expense to re-engineer the rest of the lineup (darn those Focus guys) but having this system in place on other cars will give Ford a serious edge over other competition, at least until they catch up. For now, the Focus RS has this awesome AWD system and may be the car for you if you would like a fun and energetic ride from a small car that shows off the guts it has whenever you unleash this system.