You’ve seen the wildest Focus ever – now meet its crazy little brother! Ford is preparing to unleash a Fiesta ST – and with power from an all-new turbocharged engine, delivering at least 180bhp, it should finally unlock the supermini’s potential for fine roadholding.
Ever since we first drove the Fiesta, and experienced its beautiful balance and appetite for corners, we’ve been waiting for a more powerful version to enter production. And now Ford is ready to deliver!
The ST is a result of the ‘One Ford’ philosophy, which commits the firm to building a handful of global models – including the Fiesta and new Focus. A hot ST variant of the latter has already been confirmed. The economies of scale that this produces mean the manufacturer can now justify building faster machinery.
Despite a Ford spokesman dismissing our claims that new spy shots – which you can see at www.autoexpress.co.uk – were of an ST, we know different. He said the car was one of four modified US-spec Fiestas prepared for this year’s LA Motor Show. But there are a handful
of fundamental differences which disprove his theory.
Spotted close to Ford’s global headquarters in Dearborn, near Detroit, the prototype seen on our website is a European-spec car. It features a green sticker in the bottom corner of the windscreen indicating that the model was built in Ford’s factory in Cologne, Germany instead of in Mexico.
The mule boasts some telling addenda too, such as an intercooler clearly visible in the lower front grille, confirming that there’s a turbocharged engine under the bonnet. That almost certainly points towards the 180bhp direct-injection 1.6-litre EcoBoost unit first introduced on the C-MAX people carrier.
While no performance figures are available yet, the ST is likely to deliver the 0-62mph sprint in less than seven seconds and a top speed of more than 140mph. This will allow the Fiesta to take the fight to VW Group rivals such as the Skoda Fabia vRS and Volkswagen Polo GTI. To compete with these cars and their hi-tech DSG gearboxes, expect Ford to fit the fast Fiesta with a six-speed Powershift dual-clutch transmission, controlled via wheel-mounted paddles. Twin exhaust pipes, a rear diffuser and a bodykit will improve the Fiesta’s sporty ‘kinetic design’ even further and boost the car’s high-speed aerodynamics. An extended roof spoiler will also help to mark out the ST.
The Fiesta will make its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and go on sale in summer – three years after the basic model first arrived in showrooms.
When it burst on to the scene in 1981, the Fiesta XR2i offered an irresistible mix of pace, handling and affordability, making it a hit with young drivers.
The poster car of the Eighties boy racer had a 1.6-litre engine which meant it took only 9.3 seconds to sprint to 60mph from rest, and could hit 105mph flat-out.
Subsequent versions served only to reinforce the Fiesta’s high performance-per-pound ratio, with many keen drivers having their early motoring career shaped by a fast Ford. Here’s to the next generation!