Wearing a fairly standard front bumper and grille, this test car at first appears to be just a normal 2012 Focus. It's not until you see the brakes, details around the rear end and the wheels that you figure out what Ford is trying to do here. The company may have had some fooled but not us.
Ford has already unveiled the 2012 Ford Focus ST in pre-production form. This test mule is said to be equipped with a similar, if not exactly the same, specifications as the model unveiled in September last year.
This means the new Focus ST (XR5) will feature a 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine offering 184kW of power and 360Nm of torque. The unit will be matched to a six-speed manual transmission as standard.
Ford says the new engine, which will replace the existing 2.5-litre five-cylinder unit, consumes up to 20 percent less fuel than the old model. Even so, the smaller, newer engine still produces 18kW and 40Nm more than the current set-up (using Australian specifications of the Ford Focus XR5).
From behind, we can see this test mule showcases those trademark central outlet exhaust pipes. We can also see the car includes a lower, sportier suspension layout compared with the entry-level variants.
The 2012 Ford Focus ST is expected to hit international showrooms towards the end of this year.