Ford's engineers rarely get to do things that upset the Blue Oval's all-powerful accountants. Given that, our biggest surprise at the unveiling of was the car's clever torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, considering the massive costs that must have gone into re-engineering the front-drive Focus to take it.
Although there's no official confirmation, Ford execs at the reveal event were happy to drop some broad hints that we will see the system spread elsewhere among "performance" applications within the group. Road & Track hears that the next-gen Lincoln MKS/Continental might be the next place we see this system employed.
"If you look at the thread of the presentation and what we've used these fast Fords for in the past, a lot of mainstream technologies that we use today came from these vehicles," Joe Bakaj, Ford of Europe's VP of product development told us. "And I can see this as one of those technologies of the future."
Not that Ford is first to this particular party.
The official details of what Ford calls the Focus's Rear-Drive Unit are almost identical to those of the rear axle "Active Driveline" that Land Rover recently introduced on higher-performance versions of the Range Rover Evoque. Both use twin electronically controlled clutches on the rear axle to send torque to the back wheels, and both are claimed to be capable of the same neat side-to-side torque-vectoring trick.
Land Rover's system is made by GKN Driveline in Sweden, with the system being branded as "Twinster." Ford did say they worked with GKN on the Focus RS, but we don't know if the RS uses the exact same system or just a similar one—Ford executives refused to say, however nicely we asked them—but in any event it looks like an idea whose time has come.
As with Land Rover, Ford's twin-clutch rear setup is likely to be the preserve of pricier and more dynamically focused cars; lesser four-wheel-drive Evoques still make do with a single-clutch system upstream of a conventional differential.
But it's not hard to see plenty of interest in Ford products that can deliver both more traction and increased agility. "I think it's a breakthrough technology that has many opportunities," Bakaj told us.