A rather mysterious test mule of a Ford Fiesta was caught on camera by our spy photographers in Spain.

A rather mysterious test mule of a Ford Fiesta was caught on camera by our spy photographers in Spain.

It looks weird because Ford is trying to mask the beast within as there are enough reasons to believe it’s a test mule for the Fiesta RS rather than the next generation. The disguised front end hides the large air vents and beefy intercooler, while the side profile shows the fender flares along with rear disc brakes that only come on the Fiesta ST. Moreover, the car seems to have a stiffer suspension as the ride height is lowered.

Let's not forget that in a previous set of images a test mule was spotted alongside the Focus RS, thus further hinting this is indeed a performance model.

Besides the actual photos, Ford has already confirmed a hotter Fiesta is planned to sit above the ST and chances are the Blue Oval was referring to the full-blown RS. We should also take into consideration that Ford usually comes out with an RS towards the end of a model’s life cycle, so it would make sense for the Fiesta to get the same treatment before an all-new model due late 2017 / early 2018.

If this is indeed the Fiesta RS, expect power to come from an evolution of the 1.6-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that delivers 197 bhp (147 kW) and 214 lb-ft (290 Nm) of torque in Fiesta ST US Spec. To be worthy of the RS badge, the motor will likely be taken to at least 230 bhp (171 kW) and matched with a more aggressive body, bigger wheels, and chunkier brakes. There are some reports indicating it could go AWD, but we are not so sure about that. Purists can rejoice as apparently Ford has plans to sell the model exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Coming out at the end of next year or early 2017, the Fiesta RS will join the newly established Ford Performance division set to encompass a total of 12 models by the end of the decade.

Be part of something big