Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ford Focus RS500

Ford’s most iconic badge is back with a vengeance! First seen on the Sierra Cosworth that dominated saloon car racing back in the Eighties, the RS500 name has been resurrected – and this time it marks out the meanest-looking and most powerful Focus RS to date.

Made to mark the end of the standard RS’s production run, power from the already savage 2.5-litre turbocharged engine been cranked up from 300bhp to a colossal 345bhp. As the badge suggests only 500 examples will be sold, split between 20 countries, with just 101 cars allocated to the UK.

If the standard car’s swollen arches and feast of slashes and vents were a slap in the face, the RS500’s matt black bodywork and matching 19-inch alloys are a knockout punch. All 500 cars are painted in metallic Panther Black, before being wrapped in a stealth-like coating – which doubles up as protection against stone chips and scratches.

On the inside unique trim on the centre console, embossed with the RS logo, and a plaque registering your car’s place in the production run give a sense of occasion to what’s essentially a standard Focus interior. But as any Fast Ford fan will tell you, it’s what lies underneath that counts.

A larger intercooler, wider air filter and a freer flowing exhaust pipe, as well as an uprated fuel pump and an ECU tweak are all that’s required to liberate an extra 15 per cent horsepower, and trim the 0-62mph sprint from 5.9 to 5.6 seconds.

At low revs it feels just as smooth and flexible as the standard RS, but once the counter sweeps past 2.5000rpm the engine really hits its stride. The induction and exhaust noise engulf the cabin, while it pops and bangs like a firework when you lift off the throttle.

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