With Ford having promised to introduced 12 new performance cars by 2020, I’ve been hoping for the Blue Oval to confirm plans for a hotter version of the Fiesta ST ever since the Focus RS broke cover. And when Ford Performance manager Tyrone Johnson told AutoCar the Fiesta would receive an RS badge and all the goodies that come with it if "there’s a business case" for it, I got really excited. A full month has passed since then with no official word, but I’m happy to announce Ford is indeed working on the Fiesta RS.

The big news comes from our trusty paparazzi, who spotted a Fiesta prototype sporting several body elements that have yet to be seen on road-going hatchbacks. So unless Ford is testing is testing a new Fiesta-based racer camouflaged as a road car, which is very (and I mean VERY) unlikely, what you’re looking at is the souped-up RS model we’ve all been hoping to get.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Fiesta RS.

2017 Ford Fiesta RS - spy shots

Ford Fiesta RS Caught Testing For The First Time: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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Ford Fiesta RS Caught Testing For The First Time: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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Ford Fiesta RS Caught Testing For The First Time: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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So why is this hatchback no ordinary Fiesta, you may ask? Well, take a closer look at the nose in the photos above and then check out the standard 2014 Fiesta. Notice the larger-than-usual grille in the bumper and the massive air inlets on the sides? Exactly! This baby needs to breath a lot more than its regular siblings and that’s proof enough something more powerful lurks behind that intercooler. Now check out the bolted-on fender flares and tell me that’s not stuff worthy of an RS badge. It’s far too aggressive for an ST model and too mild for a rally car. The camouflage on the rear apron is also hiding what could become a large diffuser. And don’t let that common-looking exhaust pipe fool you, a more appropriate outlet will find its way into the apron as development progresses.

What engine will be shooting flames out that pipe is still a mystery, but I have a hunch Ford is probably working on improving the turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder in the Fiesta ST. I expect Ford Performance to squeeze around 250 horsepower from it, which would account for a 53-horsepower improvement over the Fiesta ST. The extra oomph could enable the RS to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in around six seconds and give the Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop a run for its money. An all-wheel-drive system for the Fiesta remains unlikely, but weirder wonderful things have happened.

Why it matters

If you need an answer to this question, than you’re probably a van guy that doesn’t enjoy four-cylinder engines popping like crazy under full throttle. On a more serious note, seeing as the Focus RS is one heck of hot-hatch, we definitely need a similar version of the Fiesta. Smaller and lighter, the Fiesta RS would not only deliver exhilarating performance at an affordable price, but it could also be what the Focus RS isn’t anymore: a road-going version of a rally car.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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