Thanks to some over-zealous European publications, Ford decided to throw the embargo to the wind and give us the full skinny on the new 2010 Focus RS500 — the hottest European Focus yet.
As was hinted at late last week, the car — intended to be a fond farewell to the second-generation European Focus platform — is largely based on the already intense Focus RS. Power still comes from a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five cylinder, but it has been significantly enriched for RS500 duty.
With a little help from Revolve Technologies – the same team that helps Ford develop a range of European performance accessories — the engine was treated to a number of upgrades. Along with a revised engine computer, the I-5 receives a larger air intake, a performance exhaust, an upgraded intercooler, revised pistons, improved cylinder head gasket, and new connecting rods.
Those changes helped engineers boost the car’s power from 300 to 345 horsepower at 6000 rpm. Torque also rises from 325 to 339 pound-feet at 4500 rpm. Ford says the RS500 will sprint from 0-62 mph in 5.6 seconds, and ultimately hit a top speed around 163 mph — similar to a normal Focus RS.
Since the RS500 largely uses the same chassis as the Focus RS, all that power is sent to the car’s front wheels. Ford improves handling by fitting both a Quaife-sourced limited slip differential, and special front struts with two-piece knuckles designed to quell torque steer. 19-inch wheels are also standard, although they’re treated to a bespoke matte black finish for the RS500.
That finish mirrors the exterior’s cosmetic makeover. True to Henry’s word, you can have an RS500 in any color you like, so long as it’s matte black. Ford sprays the car in a metallic “Panther Black” color before letting 3M apply a matt black foil film. Inside, designers replaced the RS’ blue accents with red stitching on the steering wheel, door trim, shift boot, and floor mats. Matching red leather is also available for the Recaro-sourced front seats.
Production — which will occur in Ford’s factory in Saarlouis, Germany — is limited to 500 cars. It seems the automaker is quite picky about allocation — England, always a strong market will receive 101 cars, while Germany will receive roughly half that figure. Only 10 cars will be sold in the Netherlands, although its equal-sized next-door neighbor, Belgium, will receive 50 examples.
Norway and Ireland will only receive 5 and 3 cars, respectively, but they’re still better off than North America, where the car remains forbidden fruit to gearheads like ourselves.