It’s been rumored recently that Ford is mulling a wackier version of its already potent Focus RS, and while we’ve yet to obtain official confirmation, these spy shots could provide the first evidence of what could become the new RS500.
The only visible difference over the standard Focus RS – aside from the missing trim on the driver’s side fog light surround, is the vented hood that looks like the one used on the previous-gen Focus RS500 that was never offered in North America, but that makes sense if it’s an early development test mule, as the important changes are hidden under the sheet-metal.
The original Focus RS500 was the fiercest Focus ever and was considered by many as the spiritual successor to the 1980s Sierra RS500 with its 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five picking up 45hp and 14lb-ft (19Nm) over the stock RS to produce 345hp (350PS) and 339 lb-ft (460Nm) to reduce the front-wheel drive car’s 0-62mph (100km/h) time from 5.9 to 5.6sec.
This time around, the current-gen base Focus RS is an even more sophisticated, powerful and faster beast, pairing a 345hp (350PS) and 324lb-ft (440Nm) 2.3-liter four-cylinder turbo to a 6speed manual and a clever all-wheel drive system that help it reach a top speed of 165mph (266km/h) with 0-62mph (100km/h) dispatched in just 4.7 seconds.
In other words, even the regular Focus RS is a lot quicker than the previous top model, while thanks to the switch to AWD, the next RS500 can handle a lot more power. How much? That’s something we don’t know yet, but it wouldn’t be farfetched to see Ford giving it around 400-horses. Together with other improvements such as a lighter body and possibly even a dual-clutch transmission, the Focus RS500 could nab the title of the fastest and most hardcore compact model in the world.
We should know more about Ford’s intentions in the coming months if not weeks.
Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops