Ford is to end the production run of the Focus RS in style with a limited-edition Focus RS500 - a name that harks back to the iconic Sierra Cosworth RS500 homologation special of 1987.
As the badge implies, the Ford Focus RS500 will be limited to just 500 examples, each with a hand-engraved plaque on the centre console marking the car's unique production number.
The Focus RS500 isn't just a badge-only special, however. Power from the turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder motor is up from 300bhp to 345bhp, while torque is up 15lb ft to 339lb ft.
The RS500 gets to 60mph from rest in 5.4secs and reaches 100mph in 12.2secs - figures that beat the standard car's Autocar
road test performance by 0.3secs and 1.7secs respectively. Top speed jumps 2mph to 165mph.
The chassis set-up is unchanged over the regular model, but with its clever RevoKnuckle front suspension and limited-slip differential the RS should be more than up to the task of taking on a bit of extra power. Just to make sure, though, Ford TeamRS engineers and three Ford-employed racing drivers did 10,000 non-stop kilometres at the Nordschleife.
"We wanted to be sure that serious enthusiasts could drive the Focus RS500 to the limit on track, without any concerns about the car's stamina," says Matthias Tonn, Focus RS500 Chief Programme Engineer. "This meant going beyond our standard test routines, and pushing the car to the edge of its performance envelope. After 500 non-stop laps of the Nürburgring, we are very confident of its durability and delighted at the way it performed, with an eight-minute lap time within reach".
All RS 500s will get matt black 19in alloys and a unique matt black paint finish courtesy of coatings specialist 3M. The standard Focus RS's blue interior highlights are replaced by flashes of red.
Prices haven't been revealed for the RS500, but expect it to cost in the region of £35k. Customers can get their orders in from May.
More info on the Focus RS500 can be found at www.focusrs500.com