A 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine is standard fare for hot hatches of this size nowadays. The Fiesta ST’s unit develops 180bhp and 214lb ft of torque, which is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
The engine is one of the best of its type. It pulls hard from low down in the rev range with no discernible turbo lag, and while some turbocharged engines feel flat and unexciting closer to the redline the ST’s unit revs all the way out with real verve. It doesn’t achieve the same raw, razor-edged excitement of the best normally-aspirated hot hatch engines of old, but of the latest down-sized, turbocharged power units the ST’s is as good as they come.
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The manual gearshift is slick, precise and with a well-defined gate, so it’s satisfying to shuffle through gears. Our long-term ST felt better still by the time it went back to Ford – the miles endowed the lever with an even slicker action.
There’s no limited sip differential option, but there is an electronic system that uses the brakes to replicate the effect. However, we’re not sure what mechanical locking differential would add to the Fiesta ST’s dynamic make-up – it’s an accomplished car as it is.
As denoted by the ST200 badging this limited edition model gets a power hike, the 1.6-litre turbo unit now returning 215bhp on overboost (lasting for 20 seconds in third and fourth gear), at 5700rpm. The peak torque figure is 236lb ft.