For real this time? Ford Focus RS could pack 350-HP EcoBoost engine and AWD

The current Ford Focus ST is quite the pocket rocket, but it’s not the hottest Focus to ever turn a wheel.

U.S. drivers have been continually denied the Focus RS, a Europe-only model that bowed out with the last Europe-only Focus. Now that the same car is sold on both sides of the Atlantic, it seems likely that a new RS could be sold here.

According to Road & Track, that’s exactly what will happen in 2016. The magazine predicts that the new Focus RS will also be the most extreme ever, packing the 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine from the 2015 Mustang and Lincoln MKC, with all-wheel drive.

Related: 2014 Ford Focus ST review

This rumor actually goes back quite awhile, to when the Mustang EcoBoost was itself a rumor. More recently, there were reports that Ford was concerned about a hi-po Focus cannibalizing Mustang sales, but that issue has apparently been resolved.

The 2016 Focus RS is not only happening, it’s primed to blow the doors off the competition.

The same Road & Track report puts power output between 325 horsepower and 350 hp, significantly more than the 310 hp on tap in the Mustang, and much more than likely rivals such as the Subaru WRX STI, Volkswagen Golf R, and the rumored 2017 Mazdaspeed3.

To handle all of that power, the RS’ all-wheel drive system will feature front and rear torque vectoring. It will be very different from the system available in current Ford cars, which is designed primarily to save fuel. The new performance all-wheel drive setup could make it into other Ford models as well.

This news leaves a lot of questions, of course. Chief among them: Is it 2016 yet?

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