When the new Ford Fiesta ST was officially unveiled back in February 2017, the big news was that the B-segment blaster would be powered by a turbocharged 1,5-litre, three-cylinder engine. But now the Blue Oval has revealed further details about its smallest hot hatch.
We already know that the turbo-triple will produce 147 kW and 290 N.m, and that it will feature selectable drive modes (normal, sport and track). But now Ford has confirmed that the Fiesta ST will complete the obligatory dash from standstill to 100 km/h in a claimed 6,5 seconds (and top out at 232 km/h) – that’s four-tenths quicker than the outgoing 1,6-litre model and two-tenths quicker than the “anticipated” time Ford released at the new model’s reveal. It's also swifter than the DSG-equipped Volkswagen Polo GTI (6,7 seconds) and EDC-only Renault Clio RS 220 Trophy (6,6 seconds).
Likely key to this improvement is the fact that the new Fiesta ST – which will be available in both three- and five-door body styles, with a manual gearbox – will be offered with a new (optional) launch control system developed “for use on track only”. How does it work? Well, the driver simply selects “launch control” using buttons on the steering wheel, activating a dedicated display in the 4,2-inch instrument cluster.
Holding the throttle fully open will instruct the system to build engine revolutions and automatically hold at the rev limit – filling an on-screen gauge that indicates when the car is prepared for launch. Releasing the clutch fully then enables an "optimised standing start" with electronic stability control, traction control, torque vectoring control and torque steer compensation systems managing power and torque delivery.
Other new details include the news that the new Fiesta ST will also be offered with an optional Quaife (mechanical) limited-slip differential, helping to optimise front-end traction. Furthermore, Ford says its patented "force vectoring springs" improve the stability, agility and responsiveness of the ST's twist-beam rear suspension.
Further highlights include a bespoke steering knuckle design, a 12:1 steering ratio (Ford says this the fastest of any Ford Performance model, and 14 percent quicker than the outgoing Fiesta ST200), a high-performance braking system with 278 mm vented front and 253 mm solid rear discs, cylinder deactivation system and active exhaust valve technology.
While the seventh-generation Fiesta is expected to be launched in South Africa in the second quarter of 2018, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa has yet to reveal the planned introduction date for the new Fiesta ST. Needless to say, local specifications and options (along with pricing!) have yet to be confirmed.