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We took our '17 FFS up to a road in the Great Smoky Mountains of NC aptly named "Tail of the Dragon," which is a section of US 129 that runs between North Carolina and Tennessee with 318 curves in 11 miles. Our plan has always been to take our '14 Fiesta ST up there, but it's currently in need of an engine. We settled on taking the Sport up, and I was not disappointed.

Yes, the car feels heavy, but not in a bad way. It feels planted, like it'd take a lot to unsettle it. Both my husband and I pushed it to the limit, and at no point did I feel any less that confident that it'd handle it.

My biggest complaint: the transmission. For those tight switchbacks, it was best to stay in 2nd, but the damn thing kept upshifting to 3rd well before redline. I'll post a driver POV video down below, but you'll hear me curse at it every time it upshifted. Otherwise, it held every corner without much drama, and powered out like a bat out of hell.

Curious where you've taken your Sports! Anyone taken it to tracks? Other fantastic canyons and roads? How'd it do?

Pics:
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Videos:
Driver POV
Passenger POV

Mods:
Steeda Throttle Body Spacer
Boomba Racing Bypass Valve Adapter BOV
EVC Throttle Controller
Livernois 93 Performance tune (running stock tune in video)
Lincoln MKZ instrument cluster swap
Oil catch can

Tires:
Goodyear Eagle Touring
 

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Super jealous! I was just talking to gf about this. I go with a bunch of mustang buddies every two years to the TOD! Just picked up the FS and thought next year would be my year to drive with them. I'm usually a passenger since I didn't have a mustang lol.
 

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Mulholland Drive, TOtD, Autobahn, Nurburgring, Laguna Seca, and Pike's Peak. Those are my bucket list drives, and I want to do them all on my bike and/or in my Mustang.
 

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Mulholland Drive, TOtD, Autobahn, Nurburgring, Laguna Seca, and Pike's Peak. Those are my bucket list drives, and I want to do them all on my bike and/or in my Mustang.
@BOT_ROCKET You have a Stang and a Sport? OK now I'm officially jealous. ;) Especially since your work car is no slouch either I'm sure.
 

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Holy (predictable) understeer, Batman!
So it's really hard to accept this until you just do it, then once you experience it, it gets more comfortable, but here's the best thing I've found to counter understeer in these AWD cars we have: I punch it in the curve. In my old FWD car that just broke the front wheels loose as long as I kept it down, and would send me off the road. But in these, because of the intelligent AWD, it immediately sends a bunch of torque back to the rear (around 50% of total I think) and you actually get better power distribution and more grip. I know that sounds crazy, and the first time I did it I was holding my breath a little, but it has worked for me every time so far. It's just not what you'd do on a FWD car, obviously.

Oh and Sport Mode all the way, for something like this, because of the tighter handling, holding gears, faster throttle response, etc. You definitely want it to tighten up.

But as I always say, "don't try this at home" and all that jazz.
 

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@BOT_ROCKET You have a Stang and a Sport? OK now I'm officially jealous. ;) Especially since your work car is no slouch either I'm sure.
I pretty much only have the Stang because A) it was my first car purchase, so it's sentimental, and B) I can only go so long without hearing a cammed V8. She doesn't get out much, though. I'm pretty sure my Sport is faster, and I KNOW my bike is faster.
 

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Last year I drove the ToD in my rental Charger and still had a blast. Not the same as riding shotgun in my buddies Cobra thats setup as aggressive as possible. So much fun. Would love to get the Fusion out there to see what its like.
 

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We took our '17 FFS up to a road in the Great Smoky Mountains of NC aptly named "Tail of the Dragon," which is a section of US 129 that runs between North Carolina and Tennessee with 318 curves in 11 miles. Our plan has always been to take our '14 Fiesta ST up there, but it's currently in need of an engine. We settled on taking the Sport up, and I was not disappointed.

Yes, the car feels heavy, but not in a bad way. It feels planted, like it'd take a lot to unsettle it. Both my husband and I pushed it to the limit, and at no point did I feel any less that confident that it'd handle it.

My biggest complaint: the transmission. For those tight switchbacks, it was best to stay in 2nd, but the damn thing kept upshifting to 3rd well before redline. I'll post a driver POV video down below, but you'll hear me curse at it every time it upshifted. Otherwise, it held every corner without much drama, and powered out like a bat out of hell.

Curious where you've taken your Sports! Anyone taken it to tracks? Other fantastic canyons and roads? How'd it do?
Try going in sport mode in the twisty bits. In sport it'll how the lower gear longer in the higher revs. Less likely to change as you go through and pull out of the turn. You may need to feather the throttle on the switchbacks but sport will help.
Engineer's technique works on managing some of the understeer, but you should practice in a safe area as it is a bit counterintuitive and needs some trust in the car. I typically get on the power a bit earlier than normal, mid apex, to get the AWD going to reduce the understeer wash on corner exit. Not great for tire wear but not doing it all the time.
Was in the hills a few weeks ago and the car ate it up. Nothing spectacular but back roads through a forest on a very quiet weekday morning. Had it almost to myself and was 30 minutes of sweeping undulating bends with a couple of tight cutbacks.
I've found that hussling along but not pushing the limits gave me the most joy - rotating 4000lb is still an ask even with good tires.
Never heard of the the dragon before. Thank you for sharing. I looked it up. Very jealous you have such a good stretch of road with so many corners and good elevation change. Love the photos.
 
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Try going in sport mode in the twisty bits. In sport it'll how the lower gear longer in the higher revs. Less likely to change as you go through and pull out of the turn. You may need to feather the throttle on the switchbacks but sport will help.
Engineer's technique works on managing some of the understeer, but you should practice in a safe area as it is a bit counterintuitive and needs some trust in the car. I typically get on the power a bit earlier than normal, mid apex, to get the AWD going to reduce the understeer wash on corner exit. Not great for tire wear but not doing it all the time.
Was in the hills a few weeks ago and the car ate it up. Nothing spectacular but back roads through a forest on a very quiet weekday morning. Had it almost to myself and was 30 minutes of sweeping undulating bends with a couple of tight cutbacks.
I've found that hussling along but not pushing the limits gave me the most joy - rotating 4000lb is still an ask even with good tires.
Never heard of the the dragon before. Thank you for sharing. I looked it up. Very jealous you have such a good stretch of road with so many corners and good elevation change. Love the photos.
Yep, it's all about doing everything early with the big heavy car. It will eat tires though.

Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
 

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We took our '17 FFS up to a road in the Great Smoky Mountains of NC aptly named "Tail of the Dragon," which is a section of US 129 that runs between North Carolina and Tennessee with 318 curves in 11 miles. Our plan has always been to take our '14 Fiesta ST up there, but it's currently in need of an engine. We settled on taking the Sport up, and I was not disappointed.

Yes, the car feels heavy, but not in a bad way. It feels planted, like it'd take a lot to unsettle it. Both my husband and I pushed it to the limit, and at no point did I feel any less that confident that it'd handle it.

My biggest complaint: the transmission. For those tight switchbacks, it was best to stay in 2nd, but the damn thing kept upshifting to 3rd well before redline. I'll post a driver POV video down below, but you'll hear me curse at it every time it upshifted. Otherwise, it held every corner without much drama, and powered out like a bat out of hell.

Curious where you've taken your Sports! Anyone taken it to tracks? Other fantastic canyons and roads? How'd it do?

Pics:
View attachment 26950
View attachment 26951

Videos:
Driver POV
Passenger POV

Mods:
Steeda Throttle Body Spacer
Boomba Racing Bypass Valve Adapter BOV
EVC Throttle Controller
Livernois 93 Performance tune (running stock tune in video)
Lincoln MKZ instrument cluster swap
Oil catch can

Tires:
Goodyear Eagle Touring
 

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Last year I drove the ToD in my rental Charger and still had a blast. Not the same as riding shotgun in my buddies Cobra thats setup as aggressive as possible. So much fun. Would love to get the Fusion out there to see what its like.
Yes hello. Much more fun in the Cobra but this is intriguing. Be nice to drive the Fusion down vs the Cobra and the highway speed exhaust drone zone for hours.

Back to the fusion....how did the trans and PTU seem to feel after that? I was concerned it would get a little toasty.
 

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It's a big heavy AWD car so you have drive it similar to old-school rally cars - brake early and let it settle into the corner to minimize understeer, then floor it mid-corner to take advantage of AWD. Wildly different from RWD; somewhat similar to FWD but more effective.
 

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I took the girlfriend's 2015 Malibu (2.0L LTG GTDI, 260 hp stock tuned was like 320+ hp) on the Tail of the Dragon last year. We were lucky as there was no traffic and no police, so I was able to push the limits. I too kept it in manual mode and basically just used 2nd and 3rd gears. It was just us in her car and a bunch of travel luggage in the back probably 200 lb worth of stuff. Towards the last few miles the brakes started to get really warm and the tires started to feel a bit greasy. There was nothing to prove so I backed off a bit more. It was a lot of fun for sure!! The Malibu has a 6T70 transmission, which is probably close or the same as the 6F55 in the Fusion, but GM doesn't have a Sport mode just a manual mode. If you do a lot of crazy driving, it automatically goes into Performance Shift mode which is basically our Sport mode. I haven't figured out a way to manually control this feature.

BTW her car had like 90k miles at the time and everything was pretty worn out (turbos, tires, brakes, etc...) and her engine drinks oil like 2+ qt every oil change.
 

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I took my '17 sport to the tail around new years 19-20. Amazingly temps were about 60F and there was almost no traffic! Mods were a 93 tune, rear sway bar, front strut bar, muffler delete, and GFB diverter valve. Unfortunately I had three other people in the car, two of which were about 300 pounds each. Still had a blast but I definitely want to go back alone and see how she does.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So it's really hard to accept this until you just do it, then once you experience it, it gets more comfortable, but here's the best thing I've found to counter understeer in these AWD cars we have: I punch it in the curve. In my old FWD car that just broke the front wheels loose as long as I kept it down, and would send me off the road. But in these, because of the intelligent AWD, it immediately sends a bunch of torque back to the rear (around 50% of total I think) and you actually get better power distribution and more grip. I know that sounds crazy, and the first time I did it I was holding my breath a little, but it has worked for me every time so far. It's just not what you'd do on a FWD car, obviously.

Oh and Sport Mode all the way, for something like this, because of the tighter handling, holding gears, faster throttle response, etc. You definitely want it to tighten up.

But as I always say, "don't try this at home" and all that jazz.
Had it in Sport mode, and it did make a significant difference. That being said, 2nd gear is the right ratio for this, if Ford didn't program it to automatically upshift if you even hint at getting close to red-line. The power out of the corners is incredible in these things.
 
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