• Nov 7th 2007 at 2:02PM
  • 28
click above image to view more high-res pics of the Ford Focus ST500

We'd rather not start a flame war in the comments about the U.S.-spec Ford Focus versus the arguably superior model sold in Europe, but it's almost certain one will begin following the announcement of a new special edition Focus in the UK dubbed the ST500. Based on the top shelf Focus ST3, the ST500 is mostly an appearance package with little in the way of upgraded mechanical hardware. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as the Focus ST is a hot hatch of the highest order already. What buyers will get with the ST500 is a metallic black paint job with silver racing stripes that mimics the livery of the famous GT40 that led the 1-2-3 sweep of the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1966. Also included are red Recaros with matching inserts dotted about the interior, Xenon high-intensity headlamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensing wipers and a solar-reflect windscreen. Oh, and ST500 badging, can't forget the badging. The Focus ST500 will start £20,495 and only 500 will be made. Sure, it's basically just a paint job package that pays homage to Ford's racing history, but buyers will likely snatch up the limited run very quickly.

You may now begin lamenting the fact that the Euro-spec Focus is not sold in the U.S.

[Source: Ford]


Ford launches unique Focus ST500

Ford has announced the arrival of a new special edition of the high performance Focus ST. Called the Focus ST500, and priced from £20,495, it will be available to just 500 UK customers.

The Ford Focus ST500 is based on the top-of-the-range Focus ST3 with the addition of unique features. All models are finished in metallic black with classic silver bonnet, roof and side stripes which are designed to echo the livery of the winning GT40 in the 1-2-3 victory at Le Mans in 1966.

Power comes from the Focus ST's acclaimed 20-valve five-cylinder Duratec 2.5 engine, which develops 225PS at 6,100rpm and 320Nm of torque at just 1,600rpm. Since its introduction in 2005, the Focus ST has established itself as one of the finest "hot hatchbacks" ever made and received critical acclaim from the specialist media and enthusiast customers alike.

With sales of over 13,500, the Ford Focus ST is now firmly positioned as the most sought after performance hatchback in the UK, and reflects the motorsport success of the all-conquering Focus RS WRC, which saw Ford take the 2006 WRC manufacturer's title, and which currently heads the 2007 World Rally Championship.

Included in the Focus ST500's unique specification are scarlet leather Recaro sports seats and matching upholstery, special ST500 badging, automatic Xenon high-intensity headlamps, auto-dimming rear view mirror, rain-sensing wipers and solar-reflect windscreen.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow Focuses suck anyway. Doesn't matter if their from Europe or the U.S
      • 7 Years Ago
      Pfft, the US Focus looks so much better than the Euro Focus.

      Hah! Throught I'd throw that wrench out there. Because I don't think anybody would ever say that with a straight face. Go go bold moves!
      • 7 Years Ago
      What most people do not realize is that all new cars in the UK gets taxed to the hilt. There are two taxes hidden in UK Prices.

      #1 A Car Tax, I'm not sure of the rate but it amounts to Thousands.

      #2 17.5% VAT, Value Added Tax, this is added to most items except food and other Non Luxury items.

      Business people get the 17.5% VAT refunded if they qualify and most do.

      If you remove those taxes the car becomes much cheaper, Ford would not pay either of those taxes for exported vehicles, Even so it most likely would be cheaper to build the car in the USA or Mexico, after all its metal, plastic and paint.

      When Clinton was in power a British Pound cost $1.35 - $1.50, I'm not for either party so don't paint me with that brush. I'm just stating facts.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yes, methinks the UK Focus ST500 is much nicer than those "ridiculously over-priced $40,000 plus limited edition Mustangs." And it's only £20,495!!

      Wait a minute; with £1 = $2.08, exactly how much does this toy sports car cost?
        • 7 Years Ago
        My friend bought a 2007 Zetec Climate (3rd trim up from base I think - he got a special deal) for 11,000 pounds and the base price listed on the Ford UK website is 14,995. So since the base Ford Foci go for about 11,000 pounds, you're basically paying about $22,000 and up depending on the model for one if it were converted directly.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You people are all missing the point. American consumers, by and large, don't care for performance or handling and won't pay for them. They shop largely (pun intended) based on proce, size, fuel economy and # of cupholders. The people visiting this blog of course do not count.

      That is why American car companies are more than happy to sell us crap cars with little to no R&D. Ford in Europe has a much better image than in the US for good reason.
      • 7 Years Ago
      commonality (lol)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Okokok hold on here...

      - You can't just do the exchange between the Euro and the USD and say *bam* thats the price. When the Canadian Dollar was .65 cents to the USD, Canadian Cars did not cost 40% more in Canada.

      - Also, if the focus plant in NorthAmerica was reengineered to manufacture the Euro Focus, the price should be much closer say an S40, rather than the $4X,XXX.00 you people are mentioning

      - Ford is not telling us something about their own company politics. I think Ford is aware that many enthusiasts are begging for several Euro (or Australian) products but are not getting them for probably one of three reasons(or all):
      1) The sunk costs in setting up manufacturing locally is so high, that it would not make sense to sell that car here (the selling price would be too high).
      2) Importing the cars to the US would result in protest and who knows what from the UAW
      3) The cost of importing the vehicles plus exchange rates etc would make the car too expensive to sell.

      *bonus point* The USA designers are so stubborn and wont take on euro designs -or- im sure Ford isint allowed to downsize/eliminate its USA design department and just modify euro cars...and produce them here
        • 7 Years Ago
        Exactly. At the end of the day, failure rests on the design & engineering teams not giving the market what they want. When i was 17 and wanted to buy a fairly new car but didint have a lot of money, i went to Ford first because my family is a ford family. Mustang V8 cost too much, so i was left with the Focus hatchback or buy from another company. Im not going to buy a slow girly egg car! Im supprised that same platform continues to this day, and apparently the car is now only attractive to cavemen becuause the design is so dated (see: 2008 focus commercials)
      • 7 Years Ago
      "You may now begin lamenting the fact that the Euro-spec Focus is not sold in the U.S."

      • 7 Years Ago
      *laments the fact that the Euro-spec Focus is not sold in the U.S.*
      • 7 Years Ago
      James you're spot on about the UAW thing. A while back ago I read an interview with Bob Lutz on 4car about how union gave GM so much crap when they wanted to bring the Daewoo Aveo here as a Chevy. They had to literally fight tooth and nail to bring it here. Look there is a reason why American econocars are crap, when you pay worker $25 an hour regardless if they make a $40k car of a $20k car, cuts have to be made somewhere. Futhermore I image re-tooling and upgrading would drive costs up.

      Also the size of the pie is getting smaller because of the housing market collapse. And very few analysts are acknowledging the obvious fact that US economy is heading towards a really nasty recession. I think that's another reason why Ford is being so cautious right now. Thing is they do not have a lot of time...3 years tops. They need to have commanility in engineering, they need to have commanility in design language in order to strengthen the image of Ford as a truly global brand.

      I'm also worried about prices of US dollar denominated commodities sold worldwide. There is a rise in demand from overseas driven by booming economies and the falling dollar, so I can't imagine it being a very good thing for Ford either.

      But also yes it is politics within Ford as always, with the US designers and marketing fools who are only good at gathering data, but have no idea what cars should really be about. I mean here is a company which still relies on focus groups (no pun intended). Designing, engineering a car should be left to professionals - not marketing personnel and focus groups.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ok, so how many of you that are bitching would actually shell out the $45k US dollars to purchase this vehicle?

        • 7 Years Ago
        How many of you bringing up that same tired old argument fail to realize that car prices in UK are at least 50-75% expensive in UK and don't convert to a straight GBP > USD? Maybe you should read up on UK pricing before blurting those comments.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I really enjoyed driving the Zetec version while I had one in Europe. It's probably the best Ford product along with the Falcon and Mustang. Sucks it isn't showing up here...
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