Ford’s RS500 badge hasn’t been seen on a new car for a while, last appearing on the Sierra RS500 Cosworth in the 80s, but now it’s back in the form of the mean-looking Focus RS500.
The Focus RS500 will certainly be easy to spot as it comes with a unique matt black ‘foil’ paint finish (basically some sticky-back plastic over Panther Black paint) that makes it look like some sort of stealth prototype. The matching 19-inch alloy wheels finish off the look very nicely, covering new bright red brake calipers, and make the RS500 hard to mistake for a standard RS.
With a limited run of just 500 individually numbered units (with only 101 coming to the UK), the Focus RS500 marks the end of production for the current model Focus RS. Demand for the current RS has easily exceeded supply and production was upped from the planned 8,000 units to 11,000, so it’s safe to say that the RS500 will fly out of the showrooms despite an aniticipated price tag of around £35k.
Ford’s engineers have been tinkering with the 2.5-litre turbocharged 5-cylinder engine, concentrating on improving the breathing and combustion. They’ve been successful too, with power up by 15% to 347bhp at 6,000rpm, and torque also increased to 460Nm between 2,500 and 4,500rpm. This extra grunt drops the 0-62mph time to just 5.6 seconds (0-60mph is 5.4 seconds) while the 0-100mph sprint takes only 12.2 seconds. Top speed is up to 165mph.
Don’t be fooled into thinking the RS500 is just a quick ECU upgrade and a few new badges. It’s been subjected to some serious punishment at the Nürburgring to ensure that the engine mods haven’t affected durability. Ford TeamRS engineers were joined by three racing drivers working in shifts to complete 10,000km of non-stop driving, equivalent to competing in ten consecutive Nürburgring 24-hour races without a break.
As well as beating the performance of the standard RS, the Focus RS500 also boasts a more luxurious spec. Inside you’ll find a red colour scheme, notably on the stitching of the leather trim on the steering wheel, door trim and gear lever gaiter, while the bespoke Recaro front sports seats can be specified in full red leather. In addition to the standard RS’s spec list, the RS500 includes the following features as standard:
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Heated windscreen
- Rear parking distance sensors
- Tyre deflation detection system
- Automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers
- Auto dimming rear-view mirror
- Ford key-free start
- Enhanced connectivity with Bluetooth®, voice control and USB port
- Sony 6-CD audio system
- Recaro sports front seats with partial leather trim
The two optional features are touchscreen DVD navigation and audio system, and the full leather Recaro front seats in red.
The Focus RS500 will appear at the Leipzig motor show on April 9th for its official unveiling, and will go into production in May.