Good news, powersliders: The all-new Ford Focus RS will have a ‘drift mode’

Ford Focus RS
“It’s like [being] a trapeze artist—we’re going to put the safety net underneath you, but you’re still going to have to go up there and perform the stunts yourself.”

The preceding quote comes from Dave Pericak, Director of Ford Performance, who recently detailed the ‘drift mode’ on the new Focus RS at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

Like a powerup from a racing video game, the function allows drivers to sculpt the perfect powerslide with the simple push of a button.

Ok, so it’s not that simple. You still have to pilot the car through the drift, but the vehicle’s various electronic brains will help you keep the perfect angle and come to the rescue if need be.

“[The system] organically came through the team,” Pericak told Car and Driver. “We know what our customers love to do, and it was a case of ‘hey, wouldn’t it be really cool to allow someone to have fun, and to use their driving skills, but still have a car that’s able to help when you need it?’ ”

Survey says yes.

“It works in conjunction with the [electronic stability control] system,” explained Jamal Hameedi, Chief Engineer of Ford Performance. “It knows how fast the car is yawing and what you’re doing to catch it. The more you stay ahead of the car, the more the system will let you rotate the car. But if the computer sees you falling behind, your steering inputs not keeping up with the yaw rate, then it steps in and rescues you.”

If you’re worried about overzealous computers zapping the fun out of driving, not to worry. The system can be fully switched off if the owner prefers the analog route. But with 315 horsepower on tap and 70 percent of torque available at the rear wheels, it could very well keep amateur drifters out of the trees.

“We’d say it’s an excellent teaching tool to help develop your skills,” said Hameedi. “It works with you, not against you.”

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