The world has been aroused by Ford’s Focus RS hatchback, and now it might lose its mind over rumors of a more potent RS500 in the works. Autocar is reporting that Ford Performance is close to approving a successor to the Euro-only Focus RS500 that was produced years ago.
Unlike its predecessor, the 2018 model year RS500 will undoubtedly borrow the Focus RS’s new all-wheel drive system and is expected to produce about 400 horsepower from a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motor. Should it get the official nod, the brand’s most powerful production hatch yet will hit assembly lines Spring of 2017.
Apparently, the only hold-up for the RS500 successor would be production efficiencies. Though only 500 units are planned, adding those to the Focus production line in Cologne might be trouble. If it is possible, the RS500 would be the last “super-Focus” before the model exits production in Summer of 2017. The next generation Focus will begin assembly in the Fall of next year.
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If Ford applies the same 15% power hike as its previous RS500, then the new model will make 396 horses at a 172hp per liter ratio. In the hatchback class, only the Mercedes-AMG A45 AMG makes more power per liter (177hp/liter). Applying that extra power to the ground shouldn’t be an issue for the RS’s new active rear differential, which can send up to 70% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. And yes, expect the Drift Mode to come standard.
With greater power comes greater performance, so expect the Focus RS500 to cut the RS’s sprint to 60 mph from 4.7 seconds to about 4.2 seconds while its top speed should rise to 167 mph or more. Autocar points out that the RS500 could probably get to 60 mph quicker, but Ford’s commitment to the manual transmission (yay) and therefore to driving engagement over outright speed will limit it’s stats slightly.
It’s unclear if Ford will sell this generation of RS500 outside Europe, but considering how readily the U.S. has accepted the standard RS, let’s hope we see some of the proposed 500 units.