The Ford Focus RS is dead. The Ford Focus RS is alive.

Ever since Ford revealed the fourth-generation Focus two years ago, we've been waiting on word about the high-performance RS version. However, it's unlikely we're getting in the U.S. Late last year rumors began circulating that it'd feature a mild hybrid system to pass Europe's tightening emissions regulations. Though by early this year, there were doubts there'd be a Focus RS at all, which culminated in a report from earlier this week that confirmed the model was dead in the development waters. But a new report says otherwise.

While rumors of the model's demise relied on anonymous sources within Ford, the new story from CarAdvice has a Ford spokesperson on record saying it's "too early to speculate" about the Focus RS's future. The new Focus rides on the company's C2 platform, which the spokesperson said features a "highly-advanced technology-laden architecture," adding that the platform is capable of fitting "a range of efficient powertrains."

Reports of its possible hybridization popped up in August of last year. By December, there was a rumor that Ford would electrify the RS's rear axle, giving the hot hatch 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts). It'd retain the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, but it'd only power the front wheels. That output would put it within the same class as the Mercedes-AMG A45 S that makes 416 hp (310 kW).

Gallery: 2019 Ford Focus ST: First Drive

The Ford spokesperson also told CarAdvice that the RS model often arrived later in the Focus's lifecycle, rarely launching alongside the regular version. Early rumors again suggested that a fourth-generation Ford Focus RS would arrive for the 2021 model year, though later rumors suggested that could be pushed back to 2022 or 2023. Either way, Ford doesn't comment on future products, and we won't know for sure whether there'll be a new RS until Ford says so. Until then, it's all speculation – and it's still a bit early for that.

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