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]

Related GalleryFord Focus ST500 (UK)


PRESS RELEASE:

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.