A hybrid version of the Ford Puma ST appears to be on the horizon, judging by these spy shots from the Nürburgring. The sporty crossover looks practically identical to the model available now, but the yellow sticker on the rear window tells us the powertrain has some level of electrification.
Unfortunately, details about the Puma ST's hybrid setup aren't available yet. Our spies think the sporty little crossover might pack an electrically assisted version of the current model's turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. The existing mill makes 197 bhp (147 kilowatts) and 214 pound-feet (290 Newton-metres) or 236 lb-ft (320 Nm) with overboost.
Gallery: Ford Puma ST Hybrid Spy Photos
The current Puma ST can hit 62 miles per hour (100 kilometres per hour) in 6.7 seconds. The top speed is 137 mph (220 kph).
While not visible here, we would expect Ford to make some design tweaks to the Puma ST hybrid as a way to differentiate it from the existing model. Even a different wheel-and-tire package and body graphics would be enough.
A hybrid Ford Puma will start competing in the 2022 World Rally Championship, so it'll make sense to have a similar road-going version. This is the classic "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" strategy.
The Puma rally car will use a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine running on biofuel. The electric motor will add 134 bhp (100 kW) to the vehicle's output, and there will be a 3.9 kilowatt-hour battery pack.
"The M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 will put hybrid power to the ultimate test, and prove that the technology is capable of delivering thrilling performance," said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance.
The regular Puma already has an electrified powertrain by offering a mild-hybrid 1.0-litre engine. It makes a mere 125 bhp (93 kW). The car is also available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Buyers can add an optional adaptive cruise control system with stop-and-go functionality.