The new Ford Fiesta ST was shown to the public at the 2017 Geneva motor show and is due to arrive in Ford showrooms in early 2018. The new Fiesta ST is based on the impressive Mk8 Fiesta and will feature significant developments over the old model, including a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. The new ST will also be available as both a three- and five-door hatch from launch.
The previous ST was a certified evo favourite and was our choice of the smaller performance hatches, especially in ST200 guise. So while we’re excited at the prospect of the new car’s arrival, it has a lot to live up to.
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Power will come from a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 197bhp. That’s a 19bhp increase on the old ST and the same output as the previous generation ST200. Incidentally, the new ST’s 214lb ft of torque is the same as the old ST200 model and helps the car accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.7sec.
The ST’s engine is based on the familiar 1-litre Ecoboost that’s been in the Fiesta for the past four years. It utilises the same direct injection and independent twin-cam timing technology. In various applications the 1-litre EcoBoost has managed to muster respectable performance, but reluctance to rev and lacklustre response raises questions as to whether the 1.5-litre version will be a good fit for the ST. Hopefully the extra displacement will bring the character the hot hatch will need.
Despite being a three-cylinder unit, the new ST engine will still have cylinder deactivation technology. On light throttle openings and during coasting, the fuel-supply to one of cylinders will be cut-off to improve fuel economy.
The outgoing Fiesta ST’s rorty engine note fills the cabin thanks to a diaphragm in the bulkhead that accentuates induction noise. The new ST is going in a different direction, opting for an electronic sound enhancer to create the noise within the cabin.
Thankfully it won’t just be the ‘fake’ engine sound you’ll be able to hear, as the speaker-assisted noise is supplemented by an active exhaust valve with the ability amplify the volume.
The noise created by the speakers and the exhaust will change depending on which driving mode the ST is in. For the first time in a Fiesta, the steering, engine, traction and stability control, as well as the noise, will change between each mode.
There’s a standard mode when the car is in its calmest, most economical setting called Normal. Sport mode opens the exhaust valve and the sound enhancer intensifies the noise, it sharpens the throttle and changes the electronic power steering settings. Track mode then disables the traction control and changes the stability control to allow greater slip angles before interfering. It will also be possible to fully deactivate the stability control, should you so wish.
It’s becoming increasingly more common to see small hot hatches, the size of the ST, to be fitted with a limited slip differential – the brilliant 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport is a fine example. The new ST doesn’t have a mechanical LSD, instead making do with a pseudo system that uses the brakes to nibble away at the inside front wheel, encouraging torque to be sent to the outside wheel.
The ST’s standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and some well-bolstered Recaro seats. But it will be possible to personalise the new ST to a greater extent than ever before. There will be a range different trim and colour choices for the gear lever, steering wheel, door pulls and dash elements.
You can also specify the ST with Ford’s latest infotainment system, Sync 3. You access the system through an 8-inch touch screen and control the satnav, audio and smartphone connections. It’s also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Ford Fiesta ST: video
After a shorter initial teaser, Ford has released this video showcasing the Fiesta on the run from Ford executives, while driving around the factory. Though we can't exactly judge driving dynamics from the promo video, the Fiesta certainly looked poised on the route's tight turns - and the perky exhaust note was a particular highlight, with some delicious pops and crackles on the overrun. The new car looks like it could be every bit as fun as the outgoing model.