► Ford Focus RS likely to top 330-340bhp
► More horses likely from 2.3 EcoBoost
► Final power output due later in 2015
Ford cannily revealed the power output of its new 2016 Focus RS only as 'more than 320PS', or 316bhp at the recent Geneva motor show. But CAR can reveal that figure is likely to swell somewhat before launch.
It seems the Blue Oval has been biding its time and checking what the likes of Honda are doing with its new Civic Type R and VW with its proposed super-Golf. The Japanese revealed at the Swiss show that the newly turbocharged Civic hot hatch would boast 306bhp.
So how powerful will the Focus RS actually be?
It's too early to tell yet. Ford is planning to announce the final state of tune later this year, but CAR understands that it will be in excess of the initial 316bhp minimum.
Our sources suggest a modest increase, taking power to somewhere between 330bhp and 340bhp. And we'd expect some wriggle room for a limited-edition run-out version, like the last-generation Focus RS500 with an extra 45 ponies stuffed under the bonnet.
With a turbocharged 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine and four-wheel drive, the sky is the limit for the fast Focus. Especially since it has a new Drift mode in the 4wd set-up to let it act more like an oversteer specialist than a grippy slot car.
RS models coming sooner in each model's lifecycle
Speaking to Dave Pericak, director of Ford Performance, at the Geneva motor show, CAR heard that more RS models will be coming from the company's newly created global go-faster division.
And Pericak said that there would be a shorter delay before each model was launched. Historically RS models came late in a car's lifecycle, much as with the Focus RS Mk1 and Mk2. Now he wants to launch these performance versions earlier in a car's lifecycle - to reap the maximum benefit for sales and brand image.
Sadly, it doesn't seem likely that this newfound appetite for performance models extends to the Fiesta, however. It is believed the market for a Fiesta RS is too limited at pocket-rocket price points; the ST is as hot as things get for now.