2016 Ford Focus RS gets factory Winter Tire Package

Article by Andrew Christian, on February 20, 2016

Ford will offer to its all new Ford Focus RS customers the option to avail of a fully certified winter tire kit to fully utilize the powerful 350 HP all-wheel drive car even in the snow. It would be the first time in North America that an original equipment manufacturer is offering a winter tire option.

According to Adam Wirth, chassis supervisor of Ford Performance, the company is offering this winter set option as a response to an acknowledged customer demand. With the Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package installed, RS customers may continue the pleasure of driving their performance all-wheel drive car even in brutal winter conditions.

Previously, only the testing procedures for normal production wheels and tires require certification while there seems to be no standards in place for the testing of winter-only wheels and tires. To address this lack, Ford pioneered its own new set of standards for winter equipment that are best suited to face harsh winter conditions.

With the ultimate goal of quality, performance and safety that all Ford performance customers expect, Ford engineers and technicians proceeded to test a variety of high-performance tires and wheels combinations in the extreme cold and show of Northern Michigan and Sweden. The combination of a 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tire mounted to a new 18x7.5-inch wheel topped in providing a comfortable ride, handling and performance in the extreme testing done.

This was then selected as the Focus RS Wheel & Tire Package and, incidentally, it looks very similar to the base Focus RS option. The only noticeable difference in appearance is that the winter option is finished in sparkle silver to camouflage possible salt spray. The package also includes pressure monitoring sensors and center caps which can be installed by the dealer.

Improved snow traction is made possible by the narrower wheels and tires while the diameter has been set up to be slightly smaller to allow the fitting of chains if owners opt for it as well. According to Wirth, the snow chains are for those customers who want to be ready for even more extreme weather. With the installation of the new winter tires, the Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive will prove just how capable the car is even in winter.

Wirth explains that customers can select which of the four drive modes available is best compatible with their winter driving style. At the moment, the new Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package is a $1,995 option only available in North America.

Press Release

WINTER BE DAMNED, FOCUS RS DRIVERS CAN SHRED SNOW WITH FIRST-EVER FACTORY WINTER TIRE PACKAGE

Customers of Ford’s all-new all-wheel-drive 350-horsepower Focus RS will now be able to order a fully certified winter tire kit for great driving enjoyment in the snow.

The Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package offers customers a unique set of wheels and tires – the first time an original equipment manufacturer is making a check-the-box winter tire option available in North America.

“We started this project knowing what our RS customers really want out of their cars,” says Adam Wirth, chassis supervisor, Ford Performance. “This tire package allows RS owners to continue spirited driving even in the snow.”

Ford Performance developed this package so the most demanding Focus customers can be outfitted with optimum equipment for winter conditions. The challenge was that normal vehicle testing procedures require certification with production wheels and tires; winter-only standards had never been authored. To bring this package to owners, the first step Ford Performance had to undertake was creating a new set of standards specifically suited for brutal winter conditions.

These new standards were put to the test in extreme cold and snow in Northern Michigan and Sweden, to guarantee the quality and performance Ford customers expect. Engineers and technicians tested a wide variety of high-performance winter tire and wheel setups to determine the optimum combination for ride, handling and performance in various wintry conditions.

The winning setup is a 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tire mounted to a new 18x7.5-inch wheel, which looks very similar to the base Focus RS option, but is finished in sparkle silver to hide salt spray. The set is complete with tire pressure monitoring sensors and center caps fully mounted and balanced and ready for installation at the dealer.

The wheel and tire are narrower, to provide improved snow traction, while the overall diameter is smaller, so owners can fit chains if necessary.

“We fully expect our more extreme-weather customers to take advantage of the ability to use snow chains,” Wirth says a smirk.

The Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive fitted to Focus RS will take full advantage of these new winter tires.

“Settings are completely driver-preference,” notes Wirth. “Customers are able to utilize all four drive modes to suit their driving style in winter conditions.”

Focus RS Winter Wheel & Tire Package is available only in North America – a $1,995 option. For customers in Canada, the package comes standard on Focus RS. The Focus RS arrives at dealerships in North America this spring.

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