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Can Ford really top the Focus RS with a new RS500 model?

2016 Ford Focus RS
The Ford Focus RS is among the hottest of hot hatchbacks, and for the first time ever, it’s coming to the United States. But proving that car enthusiasts have short attention spans, there is already speculation about an even hotter version of the Focus RS.

Ford offered a range-topping RS500 version of the last Focus RS, and it may do so again with this model, according to Australia’s Motor. While the last Focus RS500 aimed to improve performance primarily with added power, Ford may have to take a different approach if it decides to revive the “500” nameplate for the current-generation RS.

That’s because the RS’ 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine may already be running near maximum output. Based on the engine used in the Ford Mustang, it currently produces a fairly staggering 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Engineers may not be able to get extra power out of that engine, but Ford is still reportedly aiming for a sub-4.0 second 0-to-62 mph time.

Read more: Check out Ken Block’s Ford Focus RS rallycross car

With no more power to be had, Ford will have to improve acceleration by cutting weight. Motor predicts everything from polycarbonate windows to composite body panels. Carbon fiber wheels, like the ones used on the Shelby Mustang GT350R, seem like a logical addition too.

Other modifications would reportedly include a new front fascia with larger air intakes to aid cooling, and the addition of a dual-clutch automated transmission. Ford has been praised by enthusiasts for making a six-speed manual the only available transmission on the RS, but there may be some performance gains to be had by equipping the RS500 with a dual-clutch gearbox.

The Ford Focus RS500 is still just a rumor, and if it does get built it will likely show up closer to the end of the model’s run, just like the previous RS500. The current RS doesn’t exactly fall short on performance, so the RS500 should be quite a beast. If it ever sees the light of day, that is.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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