What is it?
A last hurrah for the Ford Focus RS. Production ends this September – by which time 8000 will have been made, half of which will have been sold in the UK.
Some 500 of the last batch will be these – RS500 models, toting 345bhp instead of the regular 300, and 339lb ft instead of 325.
The increase is allowed by a new, larger capacity fuel pump, and a new downpipe on the exhaust. There’s new engine mapping too of course, but it isn’t a case of turning up the boost pressure. The RS already runs a bigger turbo than the ST and isn’t worked overly hard to deliver its 300bhp. Freeing up the fuelling and exhaust is enough to liberate the power and drop the 0-62mph time from 5.9 to 5.6sec.
The chassis remains unchanged, as do the brakes (albeit with red calipers) and there are minor interior detail changes – red stitching and a plaque on the dash. You might notice the matt black finish too – it’s a film applied by 3M over standard gloss black paint.
What’s it like?
Pretty flipping fast, unsurprisingly. But unlike, say, the Mitsubishi Evo FQ400, the RS500 hasn’t become perpetually manic. The engine mapping means that it retains the regular car’s low-speed character and civility.