The tester is believed to be a successor to 2010’s Focus RS500 (shown below), which was launched to mark the end of production of the previous-generation Focus.
And with a next-generation Focus now in development, it looks like Ford will revive the RS500 moniker to mark the end of production of the current model.
The black, vented bonnet and more serious rear wing of this test mule have us salivating. Its tyres, meanwhile, look to be lower profile than standard. They’re certainly being given a good workout around the Nordschleife.
The nature of turbocharged engines means winding some extra power from the RS’s 345bhp 2.3-litre four-cylinder shouldn’t be too much of an issue. But quite what else Ford could do to, um, focus the RS further remains a mystery.
But our insiders have added that due to the regular RS’s sales success in Europe and North America – around 4100 orders have been received in the UK alone – Ford doesn’t believe it needs to produce a hotter model. They say this mule could in fact be owned by an aftermarket company, rather than Ford itself. Which leaves the identity of today’s spotted development mule out in the open.