This is the new seventh-generation Ford Fiesta ST. It’s quite a mean looking thing with its big 18-inch alloy wheels and rippling front intake grilles. Suffice to say that the world’s Monster flat-cap-wearing bros will dig it.
What we dig is the technology that Ford has put into it. Particularly the three-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels – a first in the long and illustrious history of the Fiesta ST. Replacing the 1.6 four-pot of old is a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine that pushes out 147kW and, perhaps more importantly, 290Nm. This is more than my Porsche 911 SC makes – and it has three extra cylinders. Incredible.
Ford has also spliced in their fuel-saving cylinder deactivation technology that automatically cuts fuel delivery and valve operation for one of the engine’s cylinders in conditions where full engine capacity is not needed – like when cruising leisurely down a freeway. According to the press release this system can disengage or re-engage one cylinder in just 14-milliseconds.
Performance is expectedly feisty with Ford claiming a 0-100km/h time of 6.7-seconds. Not shabby. A six-speed manual is standard (and non-negotiable at this point) as is the Drive Mode system already seen in other Blue Oval sports cars such as the Mustang. Drivers can choose to be in either Normal, Sport or Track Modes: each of which alters the slip of the traction control, weight of the power steering and linearity of the engine mapping.
It also increases or decreases the volume of the exhaust and how much artificial engine noise is fed into the cabin. Yep, like many a BMW the new ST is one of those cars that fakes it. Still, with all that torque plus a lighter front end it should be an absolute joy to pilot.
The new Fiesta ST will be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Ford South Africa is yet to announce when it will make its way to our shores. – Thomas Falkiner