Entry-level Ford Puma ST Powershift announced with 1-litre mild hybrid engine
The new Puma ST Powershift gives up 29bhp to the full-fat version, and launches with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox
With the brilliant Fiesta ST falling under the axe last year, Ford has unveiled a new entry-point for its performance car line-up: the Puma ST Powershift. Sitting below the existing 1.5-litre Puma ST, the Powershift arrives with a smaller 1-litre EcoBoost motor mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox – there is no manual option.
With 168bhp and 183lb ft of torque on tap, the Powershift’s neutered outputs result in a 7.4sec 0-62mph time – seven-tenths slower than the 1.5-litre version, despite using a paddle shift ‘box rather than a manual. Still, the engine uses a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and a belt-driven starter/generator to provide better response at low revs, and breathes through an active exhaust system.
ST models usually trade on their sparkling chassis rather than pure pace, and thankfully, the Powershift shares suspension hardware with its excellent big brother. The rear twist beam is more than 50% stiffer than a standard Puma’s, with 24mm and 28mm roll bars at the front and rear respectively.
Twin-tube Hitachi dampers work in tandem with Ford’s torque vectoring springs, which are non-uniform and wound in a specific direction to improve lateral stiffness. The ST-specific suspension geometry has been tuned around new front knuckles and a 25 per cent quicker steering rack, with 325mm front discs providing the stopping power.
The Powershift gets the usual suite of ST design tweaks, including grey 19-inch alloys, different grilles and a front splitter, which reduces front end lift at speed. Inside, the major touch points have been given the Ford Performance treatment with new seats and a thicker steering wheel, and infotainment accessed through a dash-mounted touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Pricing for the Puma ST Powershift hasn't been announced yet, but we’ll find out if the car has been muzzled by its less potent engine and auto box when we get behind the wheel.