2015 is shaping up into a great year for Ford, who in first two months unveiled a host of high-performance cars. From the awesome GT supercar and the bonkers Shelby GT350R to the all-wheel-drive Focus RS and the desert-conquering F-150 Raptor, Ford’s Performance division is off to a spectacular start. Making things more interesting is that the Blue Oval wants to add even more performance vehicles to its lineup, claiming to introduce 12 new models by 2020.

While Ford is tight-lipped in regard to what models will receive more muscle, it seems the tiny Fiesta is next on the list. According to Ford Performance manager Tyrone Johnson, a higher-performance version of the Fiesta, likely wearing an RS badge, could theoretically be a Ford Performance product. “There’s more to come from the current Fiesta,” he told Autocar, adding that an RS model could become reality "if there’s a business case." Although Johnson stopped short of actually confirming the Fiesta RS, such an introduction seems inevitable, given Ford’s plans to launch 12 new performance cars by the end of the decade. Keep reading to find out more about Ford’s upcoming hot hatch.

Updated 01/26/2016: New rumors indicates that there will be no Fiesta RS in the upcoming future. Speaking to CarAdvice, at the launch of the new Ford Focus RS, Tyrone Johnson, Ford Performance’s chief engineer said that an RS version for the Fiesta is not in the plans: "In terms of Fiesta RS, I have seen some comments from senior Ford people that it’s definitely not in the plan. Typically we don’t talk about future products but in that particular one there has been some comments that it’s definitely not in the plan."

Click past the jump to read more about the future Ford Fiesta RS.

Spy shots

March 16, 2015 - First testing session

2017 Ford Fiesta RS Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Ford Fiesta RS Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Ford Fiesta RS Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

With the Fiesta RS a mere rumor as of February 2015, I can only speculate as to what it might look like. It’s safe to assume Ford will turn to the Focus RS for inspiration as far as the aerodynamic kit goes, but it’s likely certain elements will also be borrowed from the Fiesta WRC race car. Up front, I expect to see a larger trapezoidal grille and apron inlet combo, along with redesigned side air dams and a protruding splitter, perhaps sculpted in carbon-fiber.

Around back, look for a massive roof spoiler — bigger than the ST’s but smaller than the WRC’s — and a redesigned bumper with an integrated diffuser. The latter could mirror the Focus RS’, meaning it would also feature a dual exhaust layout rather than the Fiesta ST’s twin-pipe configuration. New side skirts, lightweight wheels and a host of "RS" badges should round off the Fiesta’s beefed-up exterior.

Interior

Much like the Focus RS, the Fiesta RS should receive racing-like features, including standard Recaro sports seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, alloy sports pedals, and a revised shifter. An additional instrument cluster on top of the center console isn’t out of the question, now that Ford takes its performance lineage more seriously. SYNC connectivity with an 8-inch touchscreen is also likely to be offered as standard. Given the Fiesta is Ford’s current WRC weapon, a pair of signature RS Recaro shell seats wrapped in motorsport microfiber would make sense as well.

Drivetrain

2017 Ford Fiesta RS Exterior Spyshots
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While the Focus RS received an all-new engine compared to the less powerful ST model, it’s very unlikely Ford will use the same recipe when creating the Fiesta RS. Instead, company engineers are probably working on improving the turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-banger found in the Fiesta ST, aiming to squeeze more than 197 ponies and 202 pound-feet of torque out of it. If I were to take a guess, I’d say the Fiesta RS will benefit from around 240 ponies and 250 pound-feet of torque. The extra oomph could enable the RS to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in around six seconds. The ST needs 6.8 ticks to hit 60 from a standing start.

Of course, the big question is, will the Fiesta RS receive an all-wheel-drive system? My guess is that it won’t. Ford wouldn’t risk having an AWD Fiesta bite into Focus RS sales, but, more importantly, the extra weight that comes with all-wheel-drive would make the subcompact less fun to drive. On the other hand, Ford will make sure the Fiesta’s underpinnings are upgraded so that it delivers good handling with the extra power.

Prices

It’s way too early to talk about pricing, but it’s safe to assume the RS will climb atop the Fiesta lineup and fetch more than the $20,945 Ford charges for the 2015 ST. A $25,000 sticker sounds about right.

Competition

Fiat 500 Abarth

2015 Fiat 500 Abarth High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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When it comes to stylish little hatches with plenty of oomph under the hood, you can’t go wrong with the 500 Abarth. But while its 1.4-liter turbo-four boasts a stout 160 ponies and 170 pound-feet, the little Abarth is no match for the Fiesta ST, and will definitely fall behind the more powerful RS by a large margin. Still, Fiat’s performance subcompact is enticingly fast from 0 to 60 mph for a vehicle of its size, needing less than seven seconds.

For 2015, the Abarth received an optional six-speed automatic, provided by Aisin, for quicker shifts and slightly better fuel economy. The new autobox also features a Sport mode that allows the driver to perform fuel-cut upshifts, rev-matching downshifts and corner gear-hold. Pricing for 2015 starts at $22,395, making it more expensive than the Fiesta ST, but likely more affordable than the upcoming RS model.

Read our full review on the Fiat 500 Abarth here.

Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop

2015 Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop Exterior
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The Mini JCW Hardtop is here with a redesigned body, roomier cabin and a ton more power. Check it out at TopSpeed.com.

If you’re looking for more horsepower, a whole lot of heritage and a fancier, yet still racy appearance, then the new Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop is the hatch you need. Now enhanced by an updated exterior and a sporty and more spacious interior, the 2015 JCW gained a new turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. These figures account for a 20-pony and 29-pound-feet increase over its predecessor, making it the most powerful production Mini ever as of 2015.

Naturally, the new JCW is also the quickest Mini in history, needing only 5.9 seconds to hit 60 from a standing start with the six-speed automatic. The time increases to 6.1 seconds with the manual, but that’s still impressive for a hatch. As impressive as it is, the JCW Hardtop doesn’t come cheap, with Mini asking no less than $30,600 plus delivery and before options. Ouch!

Read our full review on the Mini JCW here.

Conclusion

2017 Ford Fiesta RS Exclusive Renderings
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The Fiesta would definitely be a cool addition to Ford’s new lineup of performance models, even though it won’t get the 2.3-liter EcoBoost or all-wheel drive. The Fiesta RS seemingly has what it takes to become the company’s entry-level, high-performance model. An affordable, fun-to-drive hatch with a WRC version to back it up and help customers associate the tiny Fiesta with a full-fledged race car can’t lose. Let’s just hope Ford approves it for production sooner than later.

  • Leave it
    • * Likely very expensive for a subcompact
    • * Not yet confirmed for production

Updated History

Updated 12/22/2015: German magazine Autobild reports that the long-rumored Fiesta RS will be unveiled sometime in 2017 - just in time to mark the model’s 40 anniversary. It will be powered by the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine found in the Fiesta ST, but with the final output increased to somewhere close to 250 horsepower.

Updated 03/24/2015: Based on the recent spy shots, and with some little inspiration from the recently launched Focus RS, we created a rendering for the upcoming Fiesta RS. We hope you like it.

Source: AutoCar

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