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Ford surprised the online car world by releasing the Ford Focus RS500 earlier than planned.  A message on a website for the RS500 indicates the automaker moved up the release date because of "overwhelming interest."

Features on the limited series hatchback includes a retuned 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine.  The engine produces 345 horsepower (257 kW, 350 PS) and up to 460 Nm (339 lb-ft) of torque.  This translates to a 15% power increase, and a 4.5% torque increase.  Through this, the company has improved 0-100km/h sprint time to 5.6 seconds, down 0.3 seconds from the Focus RS.

Top speed is also slightly faster at 265 km/h (165 mph).  The improvements are due to a software update to the ECU, larger air intercooler, bigger air filter, better fuel pump, and a widened downpipe.

Each Focus RS500 unit will be painted in matte black, and ride on blacked-out 19-inch alloys.  Red brake calipers can be seen behind the wheel.  Inside, driver and passenger will notice a console-mounted metal plate engraved with the car's ID number, as well as Recaro seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, a six-disc Sony audio system, and more.

The special edition will be limited to 500 vehicles, and will be produced as a way of closing out the current generation of the Focus RS.  Ford plans to release video and ringtones tied to the Focus RS500 on Wednesday.

Ford will sell the Ford Focus RS500 in 20 European markets beginning in May.  The car will get its official debut on April 9 in Leipzig, Germany.

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