Ford's hot hatch has been stretching its legs at the Nürburgring.

Hot on the heels of the recently launched new 2018 Ford Focus, our spies have sent us shots of a sports version of the hatchback testing at the Nürburgring in Germany.

While we’re not entirely sure if this is the ST or the RS variant, we’re super excited to see the Blue Oval is already cooking up something hot for the new Focus.

Our guess is we’re actually looking at the next generation Focus ST – that's going by the body kit, which is aggressive but not really drastic. We’ve already seen some of the exterior details of this trial vehicle on the Focus ST-Line, but this prototype also features a more pronounced fixed spoiler on the boot lid, different side sills and larger air intakes in the front bumper. Also notable are the large 18-inch wheels, which should come as standard.

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Ford Focus hot version prototype spy photo
Ford Focus hot version prototype spy photo
Ford Focus hot version prototype spy photo

Details about the new Focus ST remain a mystery at the moment, but Ford is reportedly planning to install a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo engine under the bonnet. Different sources claim Ford engineers will modify the 1.5-litre turbo of the outgoing model to deliver somewhere in the region of 260bhp, making the new ST slightly more powerful than before. 

The diesel ST will also receive a successor, as the sporty hatch (and estate) currently accounts for roughly half of ST sales. This one should stick to the 2-litre engine, which could be massaged to deliver around 190bhp, just like in the facelifted Edge SUV.

Naturally, the ST will also receive larger brakes and sports suspension. As standard, both the petrol and diesel variants should come with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the new eight-speed automatic will be a cost-option.

As far as the next-generation Focus RS is concerned – it will reportedly arrive in 2020 and will receive hybrid power. The 2.3-litre turbo engine of the current RS will be mated to a mild-hybrid system, which should boost the output to more than 400bhp and 425lb ft of torque.

Gallery: Ford Focus hot version prototype spy photos