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 once you press the clutch back in. 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.
Correction: The article originally stated that the driver must push the clutch back in themselves, but Ford states that "the innovative technology simply pushes the clutch back in."
Update October 13th, 11:26AM: Ford has updated its press release to indicate that the driver does, in fact, need to actuate the clutch themselves, at which point the engine will restart itself. "The innovative technology allows the driver to simply push the clutch back in after a stall and the engine will restart," the new text reads. The article has been updated accordingly.