Ford reveals Focus RS500

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Ford has revealed the ultimate version of its savagely brilliant hot hatch – the Focus RS500.

The standard 2.5-litre engine has been tuned to produce 345bhp, and the car will special detailing including a unique matt black 'foil' paint finish and matching 19-inch alloy wheels.

The RS500 badge will be enough to give any self-confessed fan of fast Fords goose bumps as it's the same name that the manufacturer used for the fastest version of the godlike Sierra Cosworth.

That car was built in low numbers simply to allow Ford to take the Sierra racing, but the Focus will be limited to just 500 examples to keep the special edition exclusive, and mark the end of the current RS production.

That's reason enough for the car to wear funeral black, but there's no doubt that the RS500's new paintjob will make the already aggressive looking Focus an intimidating presence on the road.

Ford's tinkering under the bonnet will ensure it has the muscle to back its Beyond the Thunderdome looks. The extra 45bhp comes courtesy of an improved induction kit and revised exhaust system so expect the RS500 to sound the part too.

The car's 0-60mph time drops to 5.6secs from 5.9secs for the standard car, but the top speed remains the same at 163mph. Unsurprisingly, Ford deemed the original car's chassis more than capable of handling the extra shove so the way the RS500 transmits its power to the road is unchanged.

As well as red brake calipers and special red and blue RS500 badges on the tailgate, the new Focus gets different details inside. The centre console comes with the car's individually-numbered metal plaque, and the standard RS's blue detailing is replaced by a red colour scheme.

Full red leather Recaro seats are one of only two options (the other being touchscreen DVD navigation) otherwise the RS500 receives the highest possible spec.

The car is set to make its global debut at the Leipzig Motor Show next month. Ford will open its order books in May, and even at a predicted £35,000, the manufacturer expects demand to easily outweigh supply.