Spy photos taken in late June prove that Ford is working on an even faster variant of the third-generation Ford Focus RS, however a source within the company has told UK's Autocar the RS500 is "not genuinely green-lighted".
Before formal approval is given, the company's bean counters need to be convinced about the car's business case. In addition, the team also needs to ensure that RS500 production won't severely impact on the output of regular Focus RS models.
If the prototype seen in June proves to be an accurate reflection of the final car, the RS500 will feature bonnet vents and extra cooling intakes for an uprated engine.
In its second-generation guise, the RS500 had around 15 per cent more power than the contemporary RS. If Ford provides a similar bump this time around, the RS' 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder would see its output increase from 257kW to 295kW.
To save itself the hassle of re-engineering the six-speed manual and all-wheel drive setup, torque increases will likely be more modest. Other changes could include semi-slick tyres, and an electronically-operated limited-slip front differential.
If the RS500 is given the go-ahead, expect it to be launched during the second quarter of 2017, and limited to just 500 units worldwide.
Again, if the previous generation RS500 is any guide, expect the new car to cost a pretty penny. In the UK, the old RS500 carried a premium of around 45 per cent over the run-of-the-mill RS.