If you thought the Focus RS was hot hatch, well, think again. Ford is believed to be on the verge of releasing a hotter version of the RS. According to rumors, the model will be dubbed 2018 Ford Focus RS500. The automaker is however yet to confirm or deny these rumors.
A video of the model at the Nurburgring confirms that a hotter Focus RS is on the way. To further support this view, is the fact that Ford really needs a hotter hatch than the standard RS to fill the rapidly growing performance-hatchback segment. With the previous Focus RS500 which was only sold in Europe having sold out, the automaker needs a new hatch to fill this gap.
2018 Ford Focus RS500 Exterior
The 2018 Ford Focus RS500 features just subtle visual upgrades compared to the standard RS but overall, the prototype features a more raked appearance than that of the standard RS. The grille and airdam look unchanged .
The front features a more dominant Ford emblem. The hood is also unchanged but Ford has added a functioning vent on either side of the center hump. Inlet surrounds are also new at the corners of the front fascia. The functional inlets help channel more cooling air to the front brakes.
The model sits much lower than the standard RS. The RS500 rides on new, 5 double spoke wheels with a black finish. At the rear, the hot hatch features new taillights design which features amber colored lights. The spoiler also sits lower and looks to be optimized for additional downforce.
Other features look identical to the standard RS. However, the model we captured doing testing runs was under heavy camouflage so a lot may change between now and the release date of the hatch.
2018 Ford Focus RS500 Interior
Our photographers didn’t get close enough to capture the cabin. However, with the hatch being performance-oriented, I expect a host of weight cutting measures which may include throwing out the rear seats. The front may feature sporty seats with five-point harness.
For an improved driving experience, the vehicle may feature a flat-bottomed steering wheel integrated with a host of controls. An RS500 logo will replace the RS logo on the instrument cluster. Other features like the infotainment system may be carried over unchanged. Be sure to check back later for more information.
Engine and performance
Most likely, the model will be powered by a tweaked version of the turbocharged 2.3 L, 4-cylinder engine that powers the standard RS. Well it remains to be seen how the how the automaker will achieve more power output from this engine considering it is currently rated at 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque in the standard RS.
I believe the engine will be paired with a 6-speed manual gearbox; a new dual-clutch automatic may be offered as an option. Power will be sent to all the four wheels.
Price and release date
Since Ford is yet to deny or confirm existence of the model, we are left with no choice than to speculate on the model’s price. Most likely, the price of the Focus RS500 will depend on the features the automaker will add. I believe the Focus RS500 will have a price hike of around $5,000 compared to the regular Ford Focus.
With the current Ford Focus RS going for $35,900, expect the Focus RS500 to have a starting price of around $41,000. The model is expected to make a debut sometime in the first half of 2017 as a 2018 model car.
The 500 suffix on the nametag is believed to mean the model will have a production run of 500 units, a fete Ford has used in the past for a limited-edition of the RS.
If the rumors are true and Ford finally delivers the car to the market, it will go head to head with the likes of Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45 4MATIC, BMW M2, Subaru WRX STI and the Volkswagen Golf R.