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2016 Ford Focus RS Spy Shots

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A new generation of the awesome Ford Focus RS is no longer the subject of rumors, as prototypes for the car have been spotted for well over a year now. The new Focus RS is expected to be revealed next year and our latest spy shots offer the best indication yet of how the car will look.

To date, the Focus RS has never been sold in the U.S., despite reaching Mexico and Canada in limited numbers, but that may change with this new generation. While many factors underlie Ford Motor Company's [NYSE:F] decision to keep the Focus RS away from its American buyers, with the issue of price likely at the forefront (the last version, sold from 2009-2010, was priced from about $38,000), we’re still hopeful of this new model’s arrival because of the Blue Oval’s ‘One Ford’ policy and the fact that prototypes for the new Focus RS have been spotted in the U.S. previously.

While the last Focus RS came in three-door guise only, as shown in the spy shots the new Focus RS will come as a five-door, which makes sense since Ford doesn’t build a three-door version of its latest-generation Focus. The aggressive look of the previous model appears to have carried over for the front section, and this is joined by chunky side sills, a large rear spoiler and a rear bumper integrating dual-exhaust tips and a diffuser.

Another key change for the new Focus RS could be the adoption of an all-wheel-drive system instead of the previous car’s front-wheel-drive setup with RevoKnuckle suspension and Quaife limited-slip differential. The all-wheel-drive system for the new Focus RS said to be a new setup designed for high-performance applications. It’s expected to feature torque vectoring front and rear to ensure it matches the performance of rival systems found in the Volkswagen Golf R and Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, which this new Focus RS will target directly.

Power, meanwhile, is expected to come from the 2015 Mustang’s 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, with output capped at about 330 horsepower. In the Mustang, the engine delivers 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. By comparison, the previous Focus RS delivered as much as 345 horsepower from a turbocharged five-cylinder mill. A six-speed manual will be fitted as standard on the new car but we're not sure at this point if an automatic will be offered.

Other potential upgrades should include track-ready suspension and brakes, a sport-focused interior plus the aforementioned exterior aerodynamic and styling enhancements.

So far, the best guess at the debut of the new Focus RS is mid next year, which would make it a 2016 model if approved for U.S. sale. Given the previous model history, with the Mk1 Focus RS selling from 2002-2003, followed by the Mk2 RS in 2009-2010, a 2015 arrival is just a touch early. Generally offered late in the life cycle of the Focus it's based on, the Focus RS is, like many other high-performance variants from other automakers, used to buoy interest in the full Focus line as it nears replacement. However, Ford may want to introduce this new model earlier to help maximize sales.

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