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2016 Ford Focus RS Spied Testing in the U.S.

New hot hatch goes on sale in spring 2016.

It doesn't matter that we've already seen the 2016 Ford Focus RS fully revealed—these spy shots of the car testing out on real roads are still pretty exciting. The new turbocharged, all-wheel drive hot hatchback will go on sale in the U.S. in spring 2016, and this prototype spotted testing on our shores likely means that Ford Performance is finalizing tuning for the U.S.-spec version of the car.

This Focus RS test mule has a few exposed bits hinting at the high-performance components underneath the hatchback body. Up front, we can see the intercooler for the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that will make upwards of 315 hp. The Brembo brakes with blue calipers can be seen through the multi-spoke wheels, and the lack of a rear diffusor means we can see the dual exhaust outlets sticking out the back. A few other pre-production elements, like the white-colored front grille trim piece and the unfinished fog lamp surrounds, will also change before the car hits showrooms.

The Ford Focus RS will sit atop the Focus lineup, with considerably more power and performance than the 252-hp, front-wheel-drive Focus ST. Its advanced all-wheel-drive system uses a Dynamic Torque Vectoring function to make for sharp handling, and the car includes four different drive modes—normal, sport, track, and our favorite, drift mode. The car also comes standard with launch control and a turbo overboost function for increased torque. The car's suspension uses two-mode dampers with stiffer bushings and stabilizer bars. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires are standard, with Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires optional for even more impressive grip.

We don't yet know how much the 2016 Ford Focus RS will cost, but we expect it to start between $35,000 and $38,000 to compete with the Volkswagen Golf R and Subaru WRX STI. Stay tuned for more information on this highly anticipated hot hatchback as we near its on-sale date set for next spring, and check out the spy photos below in the meantime.