We saw the 2012 Ford Focus ST in the flesh at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, but at the time, the hot-hatch unveiled to the waiting press was merely a close-to-the-real-thing concept version. The production Focus ST should be arriving at an auto show in the near future. Apparently it's not quite ready, however, because our spy photographers managed to capture Ford engineers working over a mule-bodied example, both at the track and in the snow.
It may appear to be a standard Focus from the outside – note the standard front fascia instead of the show car's more aggressive look – but a closer inspection reveals a few unique touches first seen on the concept. For instance, a centrally mounted exhaust outlet at the rear expels emissions from the 2.0-liter EcoBoost unit lurking under the hood. Speaking of which, power is expected to be up around 250 horsepower, and the engine will be paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
We hope to see the 2012 Focus ST hitting dealer showrooms by the end of 2011. We also hope to score some seat time before that happens. Until then, we'll just stare at the spy photos in the gallery below, and dream about the sporty action going on under the suspiciously plain wrapper.