We’ve covered the Drive Modes features of the Focus RS extensively in previous posts. The AWD system and torque vectoring differential that provides these 4 modes is the critical differentiator between the RS and cars such as the STi, Evo, and Golf R. None of those three cars are at all competitive with the RS because of this differential and what it can do. But this system is also the least understood feature of the RS – and it’s also the most important feature of the new RS.
Driving Enthusiasts will find the Track Mode most useful, and we are looking forward to seeing some Focus RS track action once they start to appear in the hands of HPDE drivers later this year. But the popular press remains focused (no pun intended) on the Drift Mode. Drift Mode showcases the ultimate capabilities of the differential, but it’s also the least useful of the 4 drive modes. Why? Let’s step back a moment and look at the bigger picture: exercising Drift Mode on the street is – or should be – a felony. Driving in a drift on the street is just stupid. And even with the electronics helping you to keep in a line, you can still have one helluva accident – and you will probably take out some other drivers in your inevitable crash.
So you’d save Drift Mode for a track event, right? WRONG – an HPDE event is not the place to learn how to do this, especially at three-digit speeds. The event isn’t setup to teach you this, the instructors don’t know it, and the other students in their cars are not smart enough to understand how to deal with this in the middle of traffic in speed on the track. And most tracks aren’t smooth enough to drift safely at high-speed.
So where do you do this? Drift School, and only drift school. If you can find one. Stay out of it otherwise.
Here’s the former Top Gear “Stig” Ben Collins demonstrating the 4 modes.