An even harder-core version of Ford’s already bonkers Focus RS hot hatch called the RS500. All sorts of vents, scoops, and spoilers suggest a comprehensive set of upgrades meant to increase track performance. Expect the car to be significantly decontented for lighter weight and to feature larger wheels and tires for improved grip. The suspension likely will be even stiffer than in the standard RS, and the brakes should be larger, as well. Power may not increase much, but the lighter weight and the upgraded chassis should improve performance.
Why It Matters: Ford has been elevating hot-hatch performance for a while now, and the previous Europe-only Focus RS500 quickly sold out its limited run of 500 units. A new RS500 would help fill another niche in the rapidly expanding Ford Performance portfolio and give the Focus range an even more capable flagship to do battle with compacts from the performance divisions of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
Platform: The RS500 will use the same basic chassis architecture as the Focus RS, which itself uses a modified version of the standard Focus compact’s platform. Bigger brakes, a stiffer suspension, and grippier tires should be on the menu.
Powertrain: The standard Focus RS hatch’s six-speed manual may give way to a dual-clutch automatic (Ford already has confirmed that it’s a possibility), while its trick all-wheel-drive system should remain. Don’t expect much more power from the high-strung 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder, which already makes 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque in the standard car.
Estimated Arrival and Price: If the RS500 makes it to the U.S. market (it’s doubtful, but we’re hoping it does), it almost certainly will be sold in very small numbers. Look for it to command a significant price premium over the standard Focus RS, which starts at $36,775 on our shores. This supremely hot hatch should debut early next year in Europe, with a possible on-sale date of later in 2017.Competition: Audi RS3, BMW M2, Mercedes-AMG CLA45, Subaru WRX STI, Volkswagen Golf R.