A muscular limited edition of the Ford Focus RS will mark the end of the sporting model’s production run when it goes on sale this summer.

The RS 500 comes in a matt black “foil” finish with matching 19-inch alloy wheels and a tuned 350-horsepower engine under the bonnet.

Mated to a six-speed gearbox, the gutsy, turbocharged power unit propels the RS 500 from 0 to 100 kilometres an hour in 5.6 seconds.

At 263 km/h, top speed is similar to the standard Focus, which uses a 305-horsepower version of the same five-cylinder Duratec engine.

The RS 500 made its global debut at the recent Leipzig car show in Germany. The last vehicles are scheduled to leave Ford’s Saarlouis assembly plant in Germany during September 2010.

Each RS500 will carry a metal plaque on the centre console, hand-engraved with an identification number from 001 to 500.

“We were determined to mark the end of production for the current and acclaimed Focus RS with something even more special,” said Joe Bakaj, Ford of Europe’s vice president for Product Development.

The full production run of only 500 vehicles is being allocated across 20 European markets in line with demand and most of the cars already spoken for, said Ford.

Ford says the RS 500 can be taken for a race straight out of the showroom. To underscore its competition credentials, the RS500 was subject to a dedicated endurance test at the Nuerburgring circuit in Germany.

Ford engineers and racing drivers worked in shifts to complete 10,000 km of non-stop driving, equivalent to competing in ten consecutive 24-hour races without a break.

The RS 500 even has its own dedicated website - www.focusrs500.com - and a slot on the social network site Facebook: www.facebook.com/fordfocusrs.