We were supposed to get our first official look of the new, limited run Ford Focus RS500 on Wednesday, but Ford decided to release information and photos today "due to the overwhelming interest shown", as the company states on its dedicated website.
So what's the Focus RS500 all about? If you're the kind of type that likes getting to the point, all you need to know is that the RS500 is a limited edition of the Focus RS with a beefed up 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five churning out 350HP, a matte black 'foil' wrap and special interior trim that will be produced in a strictly-limited production run of 500 individually-numbered vehicles.
For more detailed information and a comprehensive, high-resolution photo gallery of Ford's Focus RS500, follow the jump.
Adding to the above notion is the fact that the only mechanical upgrade made on the standard RS concerns the hot hatch's 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five.
The changes were performed by Ford TeamRS in partnership with Revolve Technologies, the automotive engineering firm that develops Ford approved performance upgrades through its Mountune brand.
They include a significantly larger air-to-air intercooler; a larger air filter box for increased airflow; larger diameter exhaust downpipe; and an uprated fuel pump, along with an updated software calibration to optimize the performance of the turbocharged five-pot.
The result is a 45HP and 20Nm increase in output for a total of 350-horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 460Nm (339 lb-ft) of peak torque delivered across a broad speed range from 2,500 to 4,500rpm.
Ford said that preliminary performance figures for the Focus RS500 indicate that the car achieves 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds and 0-160km/h in 12.2 seconds (0-60mph 5.4sec, 0-100mph 12.2sec) with a top speed of 265km/h or 165mph.
The standard Focus RS goes from zero to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds and tops out at 263km/h or 164mph.
The high-performance braking system, the 19-inch wheels and 235/35/R19 tyres, and suspension settings are carried over unchanged from the standard vehicle.
The other changes are purely cosmetic. On the outside, the RS500 gets a matt black 'foil' film that was developed in partnership with the technology company 3M, while gloss black finish was applied on the trapezoidal lower front grille and splitter, twin-blade rear spoiler and the rear diffuser.
Furthermore, the RS500 gets red brake calipers and a black finish for the alloy wheels.
Inside, apart from the individually-numbered metal plaque on the center console, the tuner's limited edition is distinguished by the unique carbon-effect finish to the bezel, a special red colour scheme (instead of the standard RS's blue scheme), notably on the stitching of the leather trim on the steering wheel, door trim and gear lever gaiter, and on the floor mats.
In addition, customers also have the option of specifying the bespoke Recaro front sports seats in full red leather.
And well, that's about it.
If you're still interested in buying a... "Mountuned" Focus RS with a matt black vinyl wrap, you'd better get in line as only 500 examples will be built for Europe, with the last vehicles scheduled to leave Ford's Saarlouis Assembly Plant in Germany during September 2010.
According to Ford, 101 units of the Focus RS500 will be allocated to Great Britain, 3 to Ireland, 10 to Portugal, 20 to Spain, 56 to France, 50 to Belgium and Luxembourg, 10 to the Netherlands, 55 to Germany, 50 to Switzerland, 45 to Italy,32 to Austria, 5 to the Czech Republic, 10 to Poland, 6 to Hungary, 12 to certain countries in Eastern Europe, 5 to Greece, 10 to Finland, 10 to Sweden, 50 to Denmark and 5 to Norway.
The Focus RS500 will have its world premiere at the 2010 Leipzig Motor Show in Germany on April 9.