If you haven’t already heard, the 2016 Ford Focus RS is one of a handful of offerings from the newly-consolidated Ford Performance division which will ship exclusively with a manual transmission. It will join three other Ford Performance models – namely, the Focus ST, Fiesta ST, and Shelby Mustang GT350 – in being an enthusiast-oriented, stick-only production car.
But being a hot-hatch, not to mention the first instance of the RS-badged Focus ever being sold on US soil, the new Ford Focus RS will likely ensnare a good deal of young, novice drivers, plenty of whom will be buying a car with a manual for the first time. How could the engineers at Ford help ease the transition from slushbox to stick?
Simple: extend the Ford Focus RS’ Start-Stop feature to restart the engine when the driver stalls. The driver need only depress the clutch again after a botched launch, and the engine roars right back to life.
“We knew we wanted to put start-stop technology on the RS,” said Ford Performance Europe Engineering and Vehicle Manager Tyrone Johnson. “So we said, ‘What if we went one step further, and controlled for engine stall at launch using the same technology?’ Well, that’s exactly what we did and it’s just as fast as our start-stop technology.”
Of course, stalling in a manual-equipped car doesn’t happen exclusively to novice drivers; every motorist messes up a launch now and again, especially when driving a new car, where knowing the clutch engage-point isn’t yet second nature. This makes the 2016 Ford Focus RS’ automatic start feature an ingeniously useful reappropriation of existing technology.
If we had to hazard a guess, we would anticipate that this feature becomes the norm industry-wide in a right hurry.