Before you lose your hat, let’s be clear: the image above isn’t authentic. But, as the spy photos below reveal, the new Focus RS will be a mean thing.
Ford hasn’t confirmed much in the way of technical details, but it is widely believed that power will be provided by the same 2.3 litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that stars in the new Mustang range.
That new unit offers 233kW in the Mustang, but reports suggest Ford will dial the RS hatch’s numbers up to around 260kW - and it will need figures like those to appear impressive alongside the AMG A 45 and new Audi RS 3.
Numbers like that would also be a massive leap beyond the already thrilling 224kW offered with the previous RS. (See our review here.)
Unlike those key rivals however, the Focus RS is expected to stick with a front-wheel-drive layout - although US magazine Road & Track reported in September that all-wheel-drive is on the menu.
We’ll know soon enough, but if Ford is indeed planning power figures in the neighbourhood of 260kW, some all-paw action might not be a bad idea.
Whatever it’s planning, Ford swears it isn’t mucking about with this one.
“To earn the RS badge, the vehicle has to be a no-compromise driver’s car that can deliver exceptional performance on the track when required while providing excellent every day driving,” Ford’s global product development boss, Raj Nair, said today.
The switch to a four-cylinder engine will mean a teary farewell to the fan-favourite five-cylinder, but we suspect buyers will get over that about as quickly as the new RS can fire them to 100km/h.
Importantly, Ford has also confirmed this new Focus RS will be a global model - so an Australian debut will likely be confirmed, and this time not in painfully limited numbers.
Watch for the new RS to debut at the Detroit Auto Show next month.