Focus XR5 Turbo Boosts
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21st April, 2006
Ford Australia has revealed the latest weapon in its high performance arsenal – the Focus XR5 Turbo; engineered in Europe and equipped with a close ratio six-speed manual gearbox and boasting performance levels that will be the envy of many larger car drivers.
"This is a very exciting day for Ford Australia, with the red hot Focus XR5 Turbo adding more firepower to an already potent performance vehicle line-up," said Ford Australia President Tom Gorman.
"We all know Focus is a quality product, and much of that quality is borne out of an extensive sports programme via the gruelling World Rally Championship.
"Our engineers have drawn on that experience and focussed it into a vehicle destined to redefine the term 'hot hatch'.
"The new Ford Focus XR5 Turbo combines performance with practicality; offering usability and versatility just as its siblings do, with additional power and performance in tribute to its rally-bred origins," Mr Gorman said.
The Focus chassis has been modified and stiffened for the XR5 Turbo, with an additional cross-member between the struts, as well as being lowered by 15mm. Handling has been refined through stiffening of the front and rear springs and larger diameter anti-roll bars.
Brakes have been upgraded with 320 mm x 25 mm front ventilated discs, fitted with large calipers and pads to provide better initial bite.
Safety features include a rigid passenger cell, footwell protection, collapsible steering column and brake pedal, side impact protection door beams and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC).
Passive safety highlights include pyrotechnic belt pre-tensioners, driver and front passenger airbags, full side curtain airbags and front seat side airbags.
Inside, the new Focus XR5 Turbo boasts Recaro sports seats for driver and passenger and a unique additional instrument pod, displaying turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure.
Outside, the front bumper has been emphasised to give the Focus XR5 Turbo a lowered look incorporating an aggressive inverted-trapezoid lower grille. Flanking the top of the lower grille, fog lamp openings are trimmed in brushed aluminium.
Fast and practical, the new Ford Focus XR5 offers a no-compromise package for the performance car driver.
Ford Team RS, the company's racing and performance arm based at Ford's Dunton Technical Centre in the UK, has developed a car ideal for the performance motorist, while offering a welcome dash of refinement.
"We have spared no effort in making this the most exciting Ford Focus road car yet," said Jost Capito, Director of Ford Team RS.
"It is a perfect car for drivers who love the performance motoring experience, but do not want to sacrifice high standards of refinement, comfort and practicality."
The simple elegance of the new Focus XR5 Turbo clearly follows the design brief and Ford Team RS Chief Designer Chris Clements’ intention to provide distinctive and dynamic lines.
“It was all about finding the fine line between sporty presence and discreet presentation. The Focus XR5 Turbo emanates performance as well as practicality.
“The new Focus has excellent proportions; so giving it more sporting appeal was a sure winner.
"The distinguishing design characteristics of the Focus XR5 Turbo don’t just look great, they also serve a function.
"As the turbo intake needed a lot of fresh air, the air intakes on the front spoiler had to be enlarged. Not enough air came through an initial version, and it took a lighter radiator grille design with less air resistance to get thermal issues under control."
At the front, a unique bumper gives Focus XR5 Turbo a low centre of gravity with its aggressive inverted trapezoid lower grille. The upper grille is also unique to XR5, and is taller and narrower than that of other Focus models. Both upper and lower grilles feature a graphite mesh with signature triangular pattern.
Flanking the top of the lower grille, fog lamp openings are trimmed in brushed aluminium. At the rear, reversing and rear fog lamp features are given a similar treatment, while the lower bumper has been sculpted to create a visual ‘venturi effect’ from which the chrome-tipped dual sport exhausts emerge.
As the rear bumper folds around to the rear wheel arches, subtle 'spats' have been added to enhance the side profile of the Focus XR5 Turbo.
Specially shaped sill mouldings – aligned with the chin of the front bumper – further communicate the low centre of gravity and enhanced agility of the Focus XR5 Turbo.
XR5 Turbo badges on the rear doors and tailgate, and highly sculpted, five-spoke wheels and low-profile tyres further distinguish the hot hatch derivative.
The big wheel arches are not just there to provide stylish surroundings for the massive 18 inch wheels: the 225/40 series tyres are 30 mm wider than those found on a standard Focus.
During the intensive road testing programme, it also became apparent that the oversized door sills provide more than just aerodynamic advantages, and in fact help protect the chassis and body itself from road grime catapulted off the tyres.
“The fastback stretches the rear of the new Focus, and the larger XR5 rear spoiler provides a nice contrast. The car looks like it’s taking off,” said Clements.
The designers also wanted to achieve a greater presence in the lower body sections. They wanted a rear end with imposing exhaust pipes, while engine technicians wanted a large tailpipe so their impressive work would be signed off with a striking acoustic signature.
Engineers soon came up with an answer in the form of a voluminous silencer, mounted laterally with two exhaust pipes coming out of its sides.
This booming addition to the car couldn’t be mounted on the volume production Focus bodyshell because of the spare tyre housing, so the lower section of the luggage space on the XR5 is removed and the remaining hole covered.
Such sporty details formed a unique challenge for the production plant.
With the vast throughput of standard Focus models at the Saarlouis plant, it took some innovative planning to organise manufacture of the Focus XR5 Turbo.
Engineers found a solution by borrowing a page from the book of motorsport.
At the point in the production process when lasers should cut the holes for mudguard extension clips and door sills or when a flat cover has to be added in place of spare tyre storage, the XR5 chassis leaves the assembly line as if it were exiting a racetrack and going in for a pit stop.
When the extra work to fit the new silencer and other unique XR5 components is completed on an adjacent line, the vehicle swings back into position and continues its journey towards completion.
While the exterior of the new Ford Focus XR5 Turbo clearly signals its performance credentials; the interior also communicates this Focus is something special.
Focus XR5 Turbo gains a unique additional instrument pod, incorporated on the upper instrument panel, providing an immediate visual impact that differentiates XR5 from the standard Focus.
Key information for the performance driver – turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure – is clearly displayed by a new instrument cluster.
The new gauges, as well as the speedometer, tachometer, temperature and fuel gauges in the primary instrument cluster, are given a new graphic design ringed in aluminium opal to match other brushed aluminium interior accents.
The leather-wrapped steering wheel has an increased rim section with prominent thumb grips and a classic three spoke design finished in brushed aluminium, while the XR5’s leather trimmed, brushed aluminium gear knob features a red six-speed gate graphic.
On opening the door of, the driver is greeted by a warm and inviting ambience, with bold and sporty cues throughout.
Focus XR5 Turbo Colour and Material Designer Serife Uenal was instrumental in the process of developing the interior.
"Customers will immediately get a sporty feeling when they see the XR5 interior. Our inspiration was the latest styles for sports shoes and clothing."
"The use of colour, textures and materials, and distinctive stitch lines give a very different, personal feel to the interior. The treatment is very subtle, and the detailing is very attractive."
Unique, stylish Recaro front seats are standard on the Focus XR5 Turbo, providing optimal lateral support during spirited driving. The seats assist in anchoring driver and passengers in place, providing occupants with a cosseted feeling – as if the car has been built around them.
Matching leather inserts differentiate the interior door panels and complement special brushed aluminium XR5 door pulls. Other details inside include purpose-designed performance pedals with rubber pads set in cast aluminium and unique XR5 scuff plates.
Focus XR5 Turbo features a black headliner and black A-pillars, further enhancing the sporty 'cockpit feel' of the interior.
Six different exterior colours will be available on the Focus XR5 Turbo – Panther Black, Sea Grey, Moondust Silver, Colorado Red, Performance Blue and Electric Orange.
Panther Black and Colorado Red are teamed with a dark flint cloth bolster with red inserts, while customers choosing Sea Grey, Moondust Silver or Performance Blue will have a dark flint cloth bolster with grey inserts.
The eye-catching premium Electric Orange exterior is mated with a dark flint cloth bolster and orange inserts.
The interior insert colours wrap around and beneath the head restraints, on the side bolster cushions of the seat backs, and along the edges of the base seat cushion.
An ebony leather option is available with all exterior colours, which transforms the XR5 into a four seater with unique leather Recaro bucket seats formed in the rear seat cushion and squab.
Power for performance
Ford Team RS promised new and lasting standards in smooth Focus performance when it came to designing the new XR5.
“We had to move the vehicle forward and in particular upwards with engine performance. The goal was to give the car more than 150 kW,” says Ford Team RS Director Jost Capito.
While Capito pushed the team to come up with an economically viable solution, the project's lead engine men, Joerg Hoffmann and Ross Jardine, were consistent in their demands for plenty of what makes an engine strong and spirited.
"When it comes to providing a solid basis for performance and torque, you can’t beat extra displacement, so cubic capacity was at the top of our wish list," said Hoffmann.
"And since various competitors in its class are already 'highly charged,’ we also set about finding a turbocharger appropriate for the project’s needs."
Thanks to Ford’s ‘Shared Technologies’ approach to component engineering, the team identified a turbocharged 2.5-litre 5-cylinder powerplant produced by associate company Volvo, which was just waiting to step into the leading role in the Focus XR5 Turbo.
"Fortunately, the extra space needed for this bigger engine had already been taken into account during the initial development of the new Ford Focus."
The job of fitting it in the engine bay was also made easier by its special architecture: very narrow and only 577 millimetres long, it is short enough to be mounted laterally between the front wheels of the new Focus.
With this construction, however, a short, 91 millimetre distance between the cylinder’s axes became necessary, and the basic proportions of the cylinders reflect this need.
Bore is a relatively small 83 mm, while the stroke ends up being relatively long at 93 mm.
Hoffmann discounted the traditional stories about long-stroke engines not coping with high revs as unfounded in the XR5, thanks to the combined efforts of cylinders and turbocharger.
"The long stroke action doesn’t dampen the sporting dynamics of this engine in any way, and the whole package remains calm and collected.
"It keeps its cool when doing its job because the rev count stays well within civilised limits," says Hoffmann.
Peak power of 166 kW is realised at 6,000 rpm and the maximum 320 Nm of torque is available from a user-friendly 1,600 rpm through to 4,000 rpm.
Hoffmann explained the high performance levels of the XR5 were achieved without sacrificing reliability and durability.
"At moderate engine speeds the mechanical loading of the crankshaft drive remains modest despite high operating pressures."
The superb power development of the five-cylinder engine also ensures smooth running.
"Typically, high performance four cylinder engines can face noticeable second order inertial forces."
"The XR5 engine, with five pistons as well as five forged and finely weighted rods is not affected by them. The second-order inertial forces have been successfully cancelled out by two counterweights on each of the crankshaft’s pins," said Hoffmann.
While initial testing of the new Focus XR5 Turbo powerplant was achieving all its goals, the engine note was not matching its dynamic capabilities.
A clever sound design was needed, and a touch of intake noise really brought the sporty Focus to life.
"A purposeful rumbling at idle was easy to organise with late ignition timing in the idle phase," says Hoffman.
But the five-cylinder’s sound became really convincing when the team ran a thin hose from the area between the charge air cooler and throttle valve right up behind the bulkhead, transmitting the powerplant’s definite respiration ‘live’ into the cockpit thanks to a sophisticated device dubbed “the symposer”.
Working like a mechanical loudspeaker, this new element was calibrated to bring a gentle amount of engine intake sound a bit closer to the driver.
"Now the interior acoustics almost give the impression of sitting in one of the Focus’ famous motorsport cousins. From the outside, however, the Focus XR5 Turbo still sounds civilized and refined."
Stability was a top priority when planning the engine’s light metal alloy cylinder block, which is screwed onto the ladder-shaped, cast aluminium bedplate, anchoring it like a rock.
"This combination provides the six crankshaft bearings with solid support, which is of fundamental importance because of the high operating bearing loads of turbocharged engines," explained Hoffmann.
"Well balanced thermal conditions around the five combustion chambers are assured by a tried and tested feature of racing engines: cross-flow cooling, which sends the cooling water broadside through the engine.
The light metal alloy cylinder head is at the cutting edge of technology, too.
A drive belt powers two overhead camshafts actuating tappets controlling four valves per cylinder. The valves’ generous proportions of 31 millimetres (intake) and 27 millimetres (outlet) ensure effective gas exchange.
Hydraulic adjusters on the drive wheel side of both camshafts can be continuously fine-tuned through 80 degrees of authority – by 50 degrees on the intake side and by 30 degrees on the outlet side.
"The motive for this complicated adjustability is obvious: more useable torque, especially at low engine speeds makes for a more tractable power delivery and also reduces fuel consumption and delivers cleaner raw exhaust emissions over the entire engine speed range," said Hoffmann.
Controlling valve operation, ignition timing and calibrating fuel injection to improve power development are left in the capable hands of a Bosch ME 9.0 engine control system.
Installing the five-cylinder, turbocharged engine into the relatively small engine space was made easier by its compact turbocharging system. The intake manifold and turbine housing are in a small unit that fits easily between engine and bulkhead, with a KKK K04-2080 D turbocharger unit providing pressure on the intake side.
A heat exchanger placed in front of the radiator cools hot air exiting from the other end of the turbocharger from well above 150°C down to 60°C.
For all of its power, the XR5’s engine only needs a mild 0.65 bar of turbo pressure.
"This rather gentle turbocharging, combined with a reduced 9:1 compression ratio, ensures a high degree of efficiency and, taking the engine’s performance into account, good fuel economy," said Hoffmann.
The end result of the work by Hoffmann and his team is an engine that stirs the emotions, with throttle reaction that is immediate and dynamic, pulling away eagerly even from the lower end of the rev band.
"We were lucky to be able to access a superb 5-cylinder engine thanks to Ford Motor Company's shared technologies approach," said Hoffmann. "Tuning that engine to meet the specific performance targets of the Focus XR5 Turbo was nothing short of a pleasure!"
The first generation Ford Focus set suspension standards still regarded by many as the benchmark for today's compact car chassis.
"The suspension on this car was so well sorted that no fundamental changes were necessary to incorporate it directly into the new Focus range, or its all-new XR5 derivative," said Ford of Europe C-Car Vehicle Line Director Gunnar Herrmann.
After seven years' experience with the 'Control Blade' independent rear suspension pioneered by the original Focus, the Ford Vehicle Engineering team concentrated on enhancements rather than starting all over again.
In addition, a stiff new front subframe for the new Focus became the foundation for the car's chassis behaviour and underwent extensive tuning for the hot hatch derivative.
"It was crucial for us that the new Focus range maintained its dynamics leadership position. From the outset, the chassis of the new model was engineered to provide very high standards of driving quality, inspired by class-leading dynamics."
Developing the core model into its XR5 performance sibling was a priority as soon as the new Focus engineers were satisfied with their work.
Paul Wijgaerts, Ford Team RS Vehicle Engineering Manager was the man responsible.
"The new Focus received very good reviews from the press for its fantastic cross between comfort and steering precision; not to mention its driving safety in varying conditions," Wijgaerts said.
"Our task for the XR5, therefore, was to tune the suspension very precisely for even sportier performance and greater agility. However, it was never our goal just to achieve good lap times around the Nürburgring at the cost of a significant loss in comfort."
Focus XR5 Turbo uses the core model's front axle, which has transverse control arms and MacPherson struts.
The already stiff bodyshell of the new Focus was strengthened further for the XR5 Turbo version, via an extra cross-member running across the bulkhead between the spring strut covers in the engine bay.
Unique springs were developed, and their dimensions calculated so even though the car sits 15 millimetres closer to the road, their travel of around 200 millimetres is not reduced.
Positive spring travel (compression) is slightly decreased and is firmer. Negative spring travel (expansion) is increased by the same amount.
"Since the expansion is greater, the Focus XR5 Turbo's tyres maintain excellent levels of grip over the full extent of the negative jounce."
"What that means for the customer is superb road holding even over poorly maintained roads," Wijgaerts said.
The award-winning Control Blade IRS has been fine-tuned for the XR5, using stiffer rubber housings for the lower control arms, while axle geometry has been adjusted to cope with higher lateral forces.
The Focus XR5 Turbo uses the new Electro-Hydraulic Power Assisted Steering system developed for the new Focus range, combining the advantages of a hydraulic system with the adjustment of power steering.
The hydraulic system ensures high levels of driving precision and superior feel and feedback from the road, while the power steering allows lower parking efforts and ease of handling in low speed, urban situations.
Pressure in the system is provided by an electro-motor driven pump that uses vehicle and steering wheel speed inputs to calculate the optimum power adjusted steering support for all conditions.
Wijgaerts explained the power assisted rack and pinion steering's variable turning ratio was made more direct overall to suit the sporty Focus XR5 Turbo.
"The steering is 8 per cent faster acting than regular Focus models to give the XR5 driver more direct feedback back through the steering wheel."
"This set-up gives drivers two reasons to be enthusiastic: in addition to the sheer joy of real precision driving, the Focus XR5 Turbo exhibits sympathetic road manners too."
Wijgaerts explained the steering can also be ‘fine tuned’ by the driver to suit specific usage.
“The computer-controlled electric steering pump has three settings, or maps, which can be selected via the trip computer stalk."
“The settings are ‘comfort’, ‘normal’ and ‘sporty’ levels of power assistance.”
The XR5’s handling has been tailored to reward the enthusiast driver, but at the same time allow for refined driving. Focus XR5 Turbo front springs have been stiffened by 30 per cent over the standard Focus and the dampers recalibrated.
Rear springs have also have been stiffened by 30 per cent and the anti-roll bar increased by 5 per cent.
"The direct benefit of this is that Focus XR5 Turbo delivers impressive grip and extraordinary road holding. Overall, the lowering of the chassis adds to the great driving experience," Wijgaerts said.
The final specifications for tyres and wheel rims were also the result of intensive testing.
The team quickly discovered that 225/40 R18 tyres were their first choice, providing plenty of space for a braking system that does justice to the power of the Focus XR5 Turbo.
High quality 320 millimetre, ventilated brake discs at the front, and 280 millimetre solid rear discs provide excellent stopping power.
"Focus XR5 Turbo provides extremely short braking distances when used precisely. This is active safety par excellence as there are performance reserves here that would only ever be called upon when driving on a race track," Wijgaerts said.
Coupled with Ford’s ABS system, it provides the optimum braking distances even in critical situations, while EBA (Electronic Brake Assist) adds extra pressure to the system when emergency braking is needed.
Active safety was at the forefront of the engineers' minds, resulting in Focus XR5 Turbo being fitted with the latest version of Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) as standard.
DSC uses the four ABS sensors, a steering sensor and a centrally mounted yaw sensor, which constantly monitor the vehicle.
Should the driver experience a situation where vehicle control is threatened in a sudden manoeuvre, the DSC system intervenes by braking individual wheels as required.
"We worked closely with the dynamics engineers so any intervention happens relatively late, ensuring the driver maintains control and that the system does not interfere with spirited driving on open roads," Wijgaerts said.
Excellent safety levels in the new Ford Focus XR5 Turbo start with the exceptionally stiff bodyshell.
Ford engineers managed to build the new Focus so it has a higher torsional rigidity than its predecessor, despite the increased dimensions.
The rigid passenger cell design incorporates a large proportion of high strength steel, which is surrounded by energy absorbing crush zones using laser-welded panels. They are designed to maintain an optimal survival space and absorb any impact force with progressive deformation.
Crash load paths through the body structure have been optimised for maximum energy absorption, in both full frontal and offset frontal impacts.
More crush space has been achieved by a controlled detaching of stiff chassis components from the body structure under the floor. This advanced safety system allows the rigid chassis components outside of the passenger cell to move under the floor, reducing the deceleration values for the occupants and avoiding deformation of the under floor structure.
New structural elements added over and above the systems provided on the original Focus include:
The restraint system on Focus XR5 Turbo features a set of state of the art items including:
The driver and front passenger airbags are designed to provide optimum protection over a wide range of impact conditions.
The seat-mounted side thorax airbags are high volume bags allowing early and efficient occupant protection during a crash event.
Combined with the crash optimised seat structures, Focus XR5 Turbo provides an exceptional safety cell for all vehicle occupants.
Seat belts consist of a three-point lap-sash inertia reel belt system. Front upper anchorages can be adjusted for height, as can the head restraints.
The front belts are fitted with high performance pyrotechnic pretensioners, fired by the same sensors that trigger airbag deployment. However, the deployment thresholds are optimised for each actuator individually.
Both front seat belts also incorporate new load-limiting retractors that release a small amount of chest webbing progressively above pre-determined loads. This is to reduce the incidence of chest injuries, particularly in older occupants.
All seats have anti-submarining ramps under the front edges to help prevent occupants from sliding under the seat belt.
Child seat restraint anchor fittings are provided in the seat backs.
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