Hot-hatch enthusiasts are basically foaming at the mouth for Ford’s latest Focus RS — and with 350 horsepower on tap, all-wheel drive, and a dedicated drift mode, they very well should be. But this caught my eye: In a new press release today, Ford says that the RS will be equipped with a new feature called “stall recovery.” It’s exactly what it sounds like — if you stall the engine, the engine automatically restarts itself. More primitive cars require a protracted, embarrassing process of sitting at a green light while you desperately grab for the ignition switch, cussing your own poor clutch skills.
Stall recovery is interesting for a few reasons. One, it’s perhaps a tacit acknowledgement that people simply don’t have much experience driving manual-transmission cars anymore, and the RS is only available with a manual. It’s also a continuation of an ongoing trend of MT babysitting: Cars like the Chevy Stingray have been offering automatic rev matching on manuals for a while now, which blips the throttle for you for smoother downshifts. (Back in the day, you had to do this yourself by touching the gas pedal like a heathen.)
Ford says that the RS is the latest car unveiled “as part of a new golden age of Ford Performance,” but it’s also clear that this is not the golden age of knowing how to drive stick. Good thing this car is looking out for you.