When Ford unveiled the facelifted Fiesta in mid-September, it also took the wraps off the spicy ST derivative. Why are they still testing the performance hatch at the Nürburgring? Your guess is as good as ours, especially since the mid-cycle update did not come with any performance upgrades that would require additional evaluations before putting the subcompact hatchback into production.

At a first glance, it seems like a fairly regular prototype, but look closer and you'll notice the gold brake callipers at the front axle. We are also getting the impression the Fiesta ST is riding a bit lower to the ground than the regular model, while the dual exhaust tips just don't look right as they're not properly aligned. In addition, there are some rudimentary cutouts around the exhaust finishers.

Gallery: Ford Fiesta ST spy photos

What is also a bit puzzling is why they're testing the pre-facelift version and also why is there black tape on the rear parking sensors. In addition, the rear door on the driver's side has a black rectangular piece, but it's unclear whether it's masking a sensor of some sort or if it's a badge. The "BWI" sticker on the tailgate is likely related to those flashy callipers since the company is specialised in brakes.

However, our spies have done a little bit of investigation work and discovered the Fiesta ST is an official Ford prototype. They also claim the intercooler peeking through the mesh pattern of the lower grille is a tad bigger than what we're used to seeing on the feisty hatch. The interior looks normal, but that might only be because this is a test mule.

Gallery: Ford Fiesta 2022

This is where we begin to speculate as Ford might be cooking up a more potent derivative. If that's true, we are not going to see an RS since the Blue Oval shut down that idea back in May 2018. Provided a high-performance version is indeed coming, we could be looking at a limited-run special edition, potentially to mark the end of the road for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team's Fiesta WRC car.

In case you haven't heard, it will be replaced next year by a hybrid-powered Puma ST. In fact, the road-going hot crossover was spied last month undergoing testing with an electrified setup.