Each year the SMM&T, the UK's representative body for the motor industry, puts on a test day at GM's Millbrook Proving Ground for hacks to catch up with cars they haven't driven or want to refresh their memories.
I camped myself outside the booth as dawn rose, OK 10.00 am, to get into the Focus RS500.
Looking meaner than Darth Vader after a bad day at the office, the matte black Focus is the automotive equivalent of a stealth fighter. The special 3M Panther Black finish seems to merge the car into the tarmac – very handy considering it will hit 62 mph in 5.6 seconds and doesn't run out of steam until the wrong side of 160 mph. That's down to the 2.5-liter blown engine's output being increased from 300 to 345 bhp – all through the front wheels.
R&T regulars will know how I raved about the original Focus RS capabilities when I drove it and this version is no less docile or tractable, as long as you keep it under 2500 rpm. Once the tachometer sweeps past that you'd better hang onto the steering wheel and be prepared to be warped towards the next bend – it's awesomely quick. While the less powered Focus RS betrayed little front wheel scrabble, the RevoKnuckle set up struggles at times to cope with the extra punch as the steering wheel writhes in your hands.
All that time there's the turbo's deep snort as it gulps down more air accompanied by wooooofs and baaarks on the overrun.
Out on Millbrook's oval I found myself the wrong side of 100 mph with insolent ease and the tricky mountain route with its strictly marshaled supposed 55 mph limit could have been boring, except there were large sections unsighted by the spoilsport brigade and third gear could be fully exploited: scrabbling wheels, traction control lights flashing like Christmas decorations and acrid brakes betrayed the fun I had.
Sorry, only 500 are being built — and they're all sold.