The sensational new Ford Fiesta ST has broken cover – and Auto Express has the first pictures. With the performance, pace and personality to leave its rivals trailing, the all-new hot hatch promises to raise the bar in the supermini sector.
The blue oval faces stiff competition from models such as the Abarth Grande Punto and Vauxhall’s Corsa VXR, but bosses are aiming to put the Fiesta back at the top of the class.
Our spies have already caught prototypes for the hot Fiesta being put through their paces, and as our exclusive pictures show, it will certainly look the part. The new ST will bring a range of cosmetic additions, including handsome alloy wheels and a spoiler above the rear windscreen. The revised front bumper includes a purposeful air intake and a pair of foglamps, while a diffuser-style back bumper incorporates racy twin tailpipes. Pronounced side sills and lowered suspension also help to provide a more aggressive stance.
Inside, buyers can expect a much more luxurious cabin than offered in the current model, with high-quality soft-touch plastics as well as vastly improved switchgear. The ST will also benefit from supportive sports seats.
Top-spec cars even get a panoramic glass sunroof and Bluetooth phone connectivity, using Ford’s new Sync in-car entertainment set-up. The go-faster model also promises to be more practical than ever, thanks to the new Fiesta’s spacious interior. Officially, Ford isn’t announcing plans for a hot version of the next generation, but Auto Express can reveal it will take the wraps off a new range of hi-tech turbocharged direct-injection EcoBoost petrol powerplants at the Detroit Motor Show next week.
The line-up will appear across the model range, and includes a 2.0-litre engine producing 275bhp. But the ST is likely to get a smaller 1.6-litre unit, making around 180-190bhp. This will put the newcomer on a par with the likes of the 189bhp Corsa VXR. With the supermini’s lightweight construction, the engine should be powerful enough to take the range-topper from 0-60mph in around seven seconds.
Buyers will also be able to boost their model’s performance using officially sanctioned upgrade packages available from Essex-based engineering firm Mountune. It has developed similar parts for the outgoing ST and the hot Focus. In addition, the flagship Fiesta is set to feature economy-enhancing stop-start technology, while a punchy TDCi diesel version is on the cards, too.
Ford’s chassis experts have been hard at work fine-tuning the hot supermini to ensure it’s entertaining to drive. The brand has a reputation for producing sharp-handling cars, and the lightweight ST is expected to deliver unrivalled cornering agility, thanks to its bespoke suspension set-up.
The all-new Fiesta will make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and hit dealerships here in October. But fans of the ST will have to wait. It isn’t expected in UK showrooms before 2009. When it does arrive, though, expect a price tag in the region of £15,500.