Has the Blue Oval revealed what's powering its new hot hatch with a sticker fitted to all Mk4 Focuses?

We've seen reports the next-generation Ford Focus ST will get an adaptation of the 2.3-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine from the current Focus RS, and we've heard the industry chatter, but a picture posted on Facebook (above) by an eagle-eyed fan has all but confirmed it.

Posted on a Ford Focus RS forum on the social media site, this image appears to come from a fourth-generation Focus ST, seemingly revealing it'll be powered by a 2.3L GTDI (gasoline turbo direct injection) engine.

A bit of digging through our archives, however, suggests the same sticker is fitted to all Mk4 Focus engine bays – check out this photo of a Vignale from our review.

The sticker seemingly confirms a report published in Autocar claiming the new ST engine will have "close technical links" to the motor in the outgoing Focus RS.

It's likely to make a front-drive friendly 200-220kW instead of the 254kW offered in the all-wheel drive RS, which will also likely necessitate an e-diff (or mechanical differential) of some sort – the current ST offers 184kW, and is known for its torque steer.

Given a 224kW version of the engine also does service in the Mustang EcoBoost, using a variation in the Focus ST makes some sort of business sense.

Ford has reportedly opted for the existing 2.3-litre four-cylinder instead of a high-output version of the 1.5-litre three-cylinder in the Fiesta ST because the smaller-capacity engine would be pushing its "reliable limit" in the Focus.

With that said, the Peugeot 308 GTi and Renault Megane RS have both proven small-capacity engines can be nudged beyond 200kW, although they're both four-cylinder motors instead of three-pot units.

As with the previous car, you'll likely be able to have the new Focus ST with any transmission, provided it's a six-speed manual. The fourth-generation ST is expected to be lighter than the car it replaces, with a 20 per cent more rigid body. That should do good things for the handling.

Although a Paris motor show debut was slated, the Autocar report suggested launch has been pushed back to early in 2019. We'd bank on a Geneva motor show reveal, if that's the case.

Thanks to AboveAverage_Cars on Instagram for the tip! 

MORE: Everything Ford