A last hurrah for the third-gen compact hatch.
New details are starting to emerge about the rumored RS500 limited edition which will serve as a swan song for the current Focus. According to sources close to Ford cited by Autocar, the model has not been green-lighted just yet, but apparently the Blue Oval company wants to have a ‘star in the RS and ST range.’ If it will receive the stamp of approval, the special edition will be launched in the spring of 2017, just months before the introduction of an all-new Focus.
To make sure the Focus III will go out with the bang, the Ford’s engineers have plans to use an evolution of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine with as much as 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts), up from the current 350 hp (257 kW). Torque is unlikely to receive a significant boost over the existing 350 pound-feet (474 Newton-meters) because Ford wants to avoid having to make significant changes to the six-speed manual transmission and four-wheel-drive system to cope with the extra torque.
Spy photos of a hardcore Focus RS prototype have shown Ford will provide extra cooling for the uprated engine by installing a new hood with dual vents. In addition, a series of aero upgrades are also in the works, including a larger wing to aid downforce at the rear axle. A weight loss of as much as 220 pounds (100 kilograms) has also been rumored, but it’s unclear at this point whether it will actually happen since the diet seems too draconian to believe.
If you are not entirely satisfied with the standard Focus RS and don’t want to wait and see whether the rumors about the RS500 will pan out, Mountune has an upgrade for the regular model bringing an extra 25 hp (18 kW) and 30 lb-ft (40 Nm). With the performance kit installed, the AWD hot-hatch will run to 62 mph (100 kph) in 4.5 seconds and max out at 165 mph (266 kph).
The power bump costs only £899 in U.K. where the standard Focus RS begins at £28,940. While it won’t be able to match the RS500’s performances, it will be significantly cheaper to own since the limited-run special edition is expected to cost around £45,000. In addition, there’s also the matter of availability taking into consideration Ford allegedly has plans to make only 500 units.
If the Focus RS500 will indeed hit the assembly line, chances are Ford will host its world premiere in March 2017 at the Geneva Motor Show.