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Mike Stevens | Oct, 16 2014 | 5 Comments

Now that Ford's facelifted Focus ST is out in the open, the best evidence yet of a reborn RS model has surfaced in the wild.

Spied testing at the Nurburgring this week, this hotted-up Focus reveals a wide front intake feeding a large intercooler that reports suggest is sitting in front of a new EcoBoost engine.

That new mill is believed to be the 2.3 litre turbo four already available with the new Mustang, producing - reports suggest - around 227kW and 407Nm of torque in the RS.

Those figures are a near match for the hero 2.5 litre five-cylinder turbo engine that gave the previous RS its figures of 224kW and 440Nm - yet recent reports overseas hint at plans to warm the 2.3 litre engine up to 260kW.

Numbers like that would see the RS easily eclipse the likes of Renault’s 201kW Megane RS 275 and Subaru’s 221kW WRX STI - among others - and coming within a hair of AMG’s 265kW 2.0 litre A 45 hatch.

The switch to a four-cylinder engine will also mean a teary farewell to the five-cylinder engine’s muscly note - although, like the ST, the new engine’s tune will be piped into the cabin with Ford’s Sound Symposer.

But while the Subaru and the Merc AMG are all-paw packages, there is some debate over whether the RS will stick with front-wheel-drive or - "at last", some might say - move to all-wheel-drive.

Many reports have suggested the RS will stick with a front-wheel-drive layout, again relying on the trick 'revoknuckle' system to limit torque steer.

More recent reports however claim that Ford will move the Focus RS to all-wheel-drive, aiming the hatch at rivals like the 221kW WRX STI and Golf R, rather than tackling other FWD heroes like the Megane RS and Honda's coming new Civic Type R.

We can likely also expect a limited-slip differential, along with firmer springs and dampers.

Other changes to this mystery ST-badged test car include larger 19-inch alloys and much bigger brakes, while a wider exhaust configuration can be seen at the rear.

As for body styles, Ford has maintained that only a five-door hatch is planned for the ongoing Focus hatch range, suggesting the test car shown here is no mere mule ahead of an eventually three-door unveiling.

An unveiling date for the new RS - if that is indeed what we’re looking at here - is still to be confirmed, although a late 2015 or early 2016 reveal could be on the cards.

MORE: All Focus RS News, Rumours And Reviews

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