Now that the all-new Ford Focus has debuted, testing of the hot hatch version has begun.
After a long wait, Ford finally lifted the wraps off the all-new Focus at a private media event this month. Coming to America in the second half of 2019 as a 2020 model, the new fourth-generation Focus will arrive with a variety of 1.0- and 1.5-liter EcoBoost engines and a new eight-speed automatic transmission. What we’re really waiting for, however, are the high-performance ST and RS variants. The latter is rumored to be a true hot hatch with a mild hybrid powertrain generating a whopping 400 horsepower.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for an artist to produce some renderings predicting what the new Focus ST and RS will look like. Just a few days later, a prototype Focus test mule has been spotted at the Nurburgring doing some high-speed testing by our spy photographers, and it clearly isn’t a regular model. The car’s lower suspension and larger dual exhaust system at the back indicate we’re looking at a more potent version of the fabled Focus. The ST Line package has already shown us how the exterior of the hotter Ford Focus will look, but the prototype sports noticeably different side sills, a more pronounced fixed spoiler on the boot lid, and larger air intakes in the front bumper.
At this point, it isn’t clear if we’re looking at a prototype of the next-generation Focus ST or RS, but it doesn’t look hardcore enough to be an RS. Plus, it would make little sense for Ford to start testing the full fat RS before the ST. Reports suggest Ford is planning to replace 2.0-liter gasoline engine in the current Focus ST with a revised 1.5-liter turbo unit producing 275 hp. Like the current model, it will only be offered with front-wheel drive compared to the all-wheel drive Focus RS. As for when we’ll get to see Ford’s new hot hatches, we suspect the Focus ST will debut later this year but won’t go on sale in the US until 2020.