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 |  Jul 23 2010, 7:48 AM

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Following reports of a new Focus ST/SVT model that is set to debut at the Paris Auto Show this fall, we’re now hearing the first rumblings regarding the next-generation Ford Focus RS – which may come to market using an hybridized version of the company’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. According to “very senior sources” inside Ford, the RS Team is currently studying the possibility of building such a car that would use an electric motor to power the rear axle, giving the car an all-wheel drive setup. Along with delivering AWD traction and added power, the system would be able to operate on pure electric power for short periods time, giving it excellent in-town fuel economy.

What sort of power Ford engineers are looking for isn’t yet known, but with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine easily capable of 250-hp, an electric motor could easily bump that up over the 300-hp mark. That would be a necessity as the current RS model makes 305-hp.

It’s not entirely clear if the car will get an RS badge either as Ford execs have insisted that RS-badged models have to be tied-in to rallying or some form of motorsports. There’s a strong belief that Ford could take this new setup off-road, just as Porsche has decided to begin racing a hybrid version of the GT3 in endurance racing.

With the project still in its early stages another possibility, reports AutoCar, is that the next-gen Focus RS could remain front-drive, using instead the next-generation version of the hybrid setup currently found in the Fusion Hybrid – which would be significantly less exciting.

If Ford does decide to go the hybrid performance car route, it might not be alone with reports that Subaru is planning a hybrid diesel WRX STI, and that Mitsubishi is also considering a hybrid EVO XI.

[Source: AutoCar]