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Ford weaves web of intrigue for Focus RS500

Ferocious Focus: Ford will release its Europe-only 257kW Focus RS500 next month.

Internet teaser for Ford’s potent 257kW Focus RS500 ahead of show debut

30 Mar 2010

FORD of Europe has left the door ajar to allow the public a virtual-world peek at its new limited-edition 257kW Focus RS500 before the front-drive hi-po hatch’s live debut at the Leipzig motor show on April 9.

Ford overnight went live with a dedicated website, focusrs.com, on which it announced specifications and the projected allocation for the strictly Europe-only run of 500 cars to mark the end of the hotshot Focus RS production.

Don’t expect to see the range-topping Focus appearing in the local Ford catalogue though.

Ford Australia communications manager Sinead McAlary said it was “very unlikely” the RS500 would arrive in Australia, given the limited production run and limited remaining life of the RS model line.

Ms McAlary said Ford Australia would “definitely have a look” at future models, but that discussion had yet to take place.

An all-new Focus range is due in Australia late next year, and until then the only performance Focus is the 166kW XR5 Turbo, based on the European market Focus ST.

27 center image The RS500 is based on the Focus RS but its engine has been breathed over and visuals improved to distinguish it from the regular RS.

The limited-edition model shares its name with the iconic Sierra RS500 Cosworth, Ford’s Group A racing homologation model of the late 1980s.

The RS’s inline five-cylinder Duratec 2.5-litre RS powerplant is beefed up in the RS500 to produce an additional 33kW, to a peak of 257kW at 6000rpm. Maximum torque has been bumped up from the RS’s 440Nm to 460Nm at between 2500rpm and 4500rpm.

The performance boost is due to a larger air-to-air intercooler, bigger air filter housing, a wider-diameter exhaust downpipe and an uprated fuel pump, along with an updated software calibration to get the most out of the hardware upgrades.

To ensure durability, Ford also specified a revised cylinder head gasket, ultra-durable metal-sprayed cylinder bores, revised pistons and new connecting rods for the RS500.

Ford claims that RS500 is likely to achieve a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 5.6 seconds, with top speed similar to the RS’s 263km/h.

The RS500’s front-drive, six-speed manual transmission, suspension, 235/35R19 tyres and brakes are carried over from the Focus RS, while the RS500’s exterior colour scheme is unique, adhering to Henry Ford’s decree for the Ford Model T - any colour you like, so long as it is matt black.

Ford collaborated with adhesives giant 3M to achieve the RS500’s matt finish, with cars rolling off the Saarlouis plant painted in a standard RS colour, Panther Black, before being shipped to a dedicated 3M facility near Frankfurt, Germany, where a special foil film is applied to the bodywork to create the matt black effect.

Matt-finish alloy wheels, red-painted brake callipers, red stitching on seats, steering wheel, door trims, gearshift boot and floor mats plus carbon-fibre highlights are the other features unique to the RS500.

Only two options are offered – red leather front Recaro seats and a touch screen DVD/Satnav.

Each RS500 will be individually numbered with a plaque fitted to the centre console.

While Ford of Europe said the allocation was subject to change, for now the company expects 101 to go to dealers in Great Britain, 56 to France, 55 to Germany, 50 to Switzerland, 45 to Italy and then the remaining rats-and-mice to the remaining European 15 countries.

Ford says total Focus RS production is expected to exceed 11,000, 3000 more than the company originally forecast for the performance Focus model.

The first RS500 will roll down Ford’s German Saarlouis plant during May, while Focus RS production will wind up at Saarlouis in September.

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