• Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
Now that Ford's hacking its U.S. car lineup down to the Mustang and the not-exactly-a-car Focus Active, we'll spend awhile getting to read about hot cars for other markets. First up: Motoring predicts that Ford is finally preparing a Fiesta RS. We've had four years of rumors about the super-hot hatch with nothing to show — or we could cite 14 years of hankering if we go back to the 2004 Fiesta RS concept. Motoring believes this's for real because when it asked Ford Performance Europe boss Leo Roeks about the possibility, Roeks put on a big grin and responded, "I can't tell you, but I'm very busy."

True, a grin and a deferral do not a Fiesta RS make. Even if Roeks' teams are working on a hotter mini than the Fiesta ST (pictured) it could be something not quite an RS, like the 2016 Fiesta ST200. That was a Fiesta ST with a Ford-approved Mountune kit to provide 212 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. A higher-powered Mountune kit boosted proceedings to 280 hp, but that didn't come with a Ford warranty.

On the other hand, for the past four years Ford has either suggested there could be a Fiesta RS in the works, or issued denials and cited reasons to shut down chatter about a potential Fiesta RS. The European front remained quiet after the first rumors in January 2014. In January 2016, a Ford exec said the RS brand had room to expand, and that there'd be an updated ST for before the last-gen Fiesta was replaced, "and after that there could be something else." Two weeks later, two Ford execs said carmaker bosses had definitely nixed any such plan. In 2017, the Fiesta ST chief engineer was "emphatic" when denying a Fiesta RS. Reasons included not being able to make a Europe-wide business case, and not being able to fit an all-wheel drive system to manage power due to cost and weight concerns.

Yet today's Fiesta rides on the same platform as the EcoSport, and that latter offering comes with Ford's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. Keeping in mind that Ford expects RS performance to be in "a different league" from the ST, a potential Fiesta RS could extract more ponies from the 1.5-liter three-cylinder that puts out 197 hp and 214 lb-ft. Alternatively, engineers could uncork output on the 1.6-liter four-cylinder from the previous Fiesta ST that worked up 197 hp and 202 lb-ft, or Ford Performance might try to squeeze in the 2.0-liter EcoBoost from the erstwhile Focus RS — that, with 252 hp and 270 lb-ft.

If the prognostications come true, the Fiesta RS isn't expected to bow until the middle of next year, and it won't come to America.

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