The third instalment of the Ford Focus RS hot-hatch is close to being signed off by its manufacturer, according to a UK report.
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CarAdvice wrote in March 2012 how development of the next-generation RS had been delayed, and UK publication Autocar claims Ford insiders have now indicated it's back on track - for a 2015 launch.

The magazine says the new Ford Focus RS will switch the previous model's brilliant Volvo-sourced 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine for a 2.3-litre four-cylinder direct injection turbo derived from a unit that will also power the 2014 European version of the Ford Mustang.

Power is rumoured to increase from the previous engine's 224kW to about 243kW.

Ford told CarAdvice in 2012 that it was still keen to avoid using an all-wheel-drive system that would help get that power to the ground but would also add significant weight to a Focus that is already a relatively heavy car in its segment.

The company indicated it's likely to continue with the clever front suspension set-up it calls Revoknuckle, which was employed on the previous Ford Focus RS (pictured above) in conjunction with a limited-slip front differential to impressive effect to help limit torque steer - the effect that can involve violent tugging on the steering wheel.

A 240kW-plus output would also give the RS a power advantage over the Ford Focus ST hot-hatch released last year and producing 184kW from its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo.

Australian driving enthusiasts will be hoping the new Ford Focus RS would be more reasonably priced than its predecessor if it were to come here.

The previous-generation RS came to Australia late in its lifecycle, was available in limited numbers (about 300), and cost $59,990 before on-road costs.