The black vented hood on this prototype is the biggest giveaway that we're looking at the RS500. Ford has made a similar styling decision on the last Focus RS500. Its presence on this test car adds credence to the information in our report from earlier this month.
That report pointed to a lighter car, rather than a more powerful one. While the exterior changes don't look dramatic in these images, it's possible the body itself features lighter, composite materials and polycarbonate could replace the normal glass windows. And yes, we're still hopping Ford sees the light and offers the GT350's carbon-fiber wheels on its range-topping RS.
Beyond that, we expect the normal array of suspension stiffening. And based on these images, the RS500 might get slightly larger brakes, too. The front calipers are unbranded and look bigger than stock – could Ford go from four-piston fronts to sixes? Ford went with four-piston Brembos on the normal RS because they were the biggest calipers that could fit in the standard 18-inch wheels. If the Focus RS uses standard 19s – entirely possible – adding a few extra pistons could be possible.
We still don't know when the Focus RS500 will debut, but we're liking the idea of a European debut – the old world has a much longer history with the RS brand, after all. This September's Paris Motor Show might be too soon, but it'd shock us if the RS500 hasn't debuted by the time Geneva raps up.