Feast your eyes on a real pocket rocket! This is Ford’s latest hot hatch champion, the Ka ST. Taking over from its predecessor, the much loved Sportka, the newcomer is set to wow buyers with a class-leading combination of driver appeal and stand-out styling.
The new Ka ST will have some serious competition, as it will go head-to-head with the car it shares many of its underpinnings with, the Abarth 500. What’s more, buyers also have the Renaultsport Twingo 133 to choose from.
However, thanks to the blue oval’s reputation as a producer of fine-handling models, the Ka ST is in pole position to be the best-selling hot hatch in its class. And as you can see from these pictures, which have been produced using exclusive information, the ST certainly packs a visual punch.
It already has a great starting point, thanks to lines inspired by the new Fiesta supermini. The hot Ka adds all the right go-faster parts, including a wild bodykit with flared wheelarches and sporty front and rear bumpers. A gaping honeycomb grille and racing stripes give the ST plenty of presence, too. That aggressive stance continues as you work your way around the car, thanks to its multi-spoke alloy wheels, side skirts and a venturi-style rear end, complete with twin exhausts.
Inside, the new Ka has made a huge leap over its predecessor – and the same is true of the ST version. Gone are the cheap finish and brittle plastics of the current model, to be replaced by top-quality materials. Adding to the sporty feel are figure-hugging seats with blue inserts and a host of ST decals on the chunky steering wheel and instruments.
Under the skin is where the blue oval is likely to really flex its muscles. It will share chassis and many suspension components with the Abarth 500, and the Ka ST will get stiffened springs and dampers, a quicker steering rack and uprated brakes.
As with the Sportka, the driving experience will offer plenty of feedback, strong grip and agile handling – but not
at the expense of ride quality. No engine details have been revealed for the regular Ka, and the same applies to the ST version. Nevertheless, because the new Ford and the Fiat 500 share numerous components, the ST is likely to use the same 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit as the Abarth 500.
That would mean a minimum power output of 135bhp, and given the ST’s potential low kerbweight, buyers can expect a 0-60mph time of less than eight seconds and a top speed in the region of 125mph. While the ST will undoubtedly be fast, it will also be frugal, with combined economy approaching 50mpg and CO2 emissions of around 150g/km.
Surprisingly, the Ka ST has yet to be given the green light. Ford bosses expect the majority of Ka sales to be accounted for by upcoming super-frugal, low-emission ECOnetic versions, and are prioritising development of these ahead of the sporty model.
Subject to demand for an ST model from UK buyers, though, they will press ahead with the project, with a likely arrival time of 2010. So get down to your local dealer now and start pestering!
Abarth muscle for performance Ford
Power for the hot Ka is likely to come from the same engine as the Abarth 500 – a 135bhp 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor. In the lightweight Ka, it should mean a 0-60mph sprint of less than eight seconds and a top speed of 125mph.