Performance-focused Focus on the way

The next-generation Ford Focus ST has been spied this week in and around the famed Nurburgring in Germany, giving us a first look at the upcoming hot hatch.

Following the reveal of the all-new Focus range last week, this prototype is wearing a subtle body kit under the swirly black-and-white wrap, along with 19-inch alloy wheels borrowed from the current-gen Focus ST.

A sports mesh-style front grille insert is another design giveaway at the performance-focused intentions of this new model, along with the dual exhaust outlets at the rear, which are a step away from the current model's centrally-mounted units.

Rounding out the noticeable changes are a more prominent roof-mounted spoiler at the back, along with the larger brakes hiding behind the wheels.

It's unclear what will power the new ST, with the core range in Australia to be powered solely by three-cylinder Ecoboost petrol engines. However, there are four-cylinder Ecoboost petrols offered in other models like the Escape/Kuga – namely the 178kW/345Nm 2.0-litre unit – which could be boosted a little to match the 200kW+ outputs of rivals like the Hyundai i30 N and Peugeot 308 GTi.

The ST could also feature a high-output version of the new EcoBlue diesel engine range too, as the current model is offered with both petrol and diesel power in select markets like Europe – though not in Australia.

We could also see a wagon-bodied version of the ST somewhere down the line too – as per the current model – with the hi-po RS likely to be offered later in the new Focus's lifecycle.

The fourth-generation Focus range is due to go on sale in Australia before the end of 2018, so our guess is that the ST will be revealed later this year, potentially at the Paris motor show, ahead of a mid-2019 launch.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest updates in the coming months. Click the photos tab for more images.