The latest iteration of the Ford Fiesta ST has been revealed ahead of its official debut at the upcoming 2017 Geneva Show. There are some significant changes, especially in the engine department, but the playfulness of this popular hot hatch seems to have been retained...
The headline change in this all-new Fiesta ST, which should arrive in South Africa in early- to mid-2018, is that the fiesty 1.6-litre 4-cylinder unit of the current model has been replaced by a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder (also turbopetrol) motor. Before you start to worry that the smaller engine means reduced power, fear not: the opposite is the case. The outgoing model has 134 kW and 240 Nm at its disposal, but the new engine manages to trump this with a respectable 147 kW and 290 Nm.
With this engine under the bonnet, Ford claims the new Fiesta ST will hit 100 kph from standstill in 6.7 seconds, which is two-tenths faster than the current model. Interestingly, this is the Ford Performance division's first venture into the 3-cylinder segment and mechanically, this motor uses twin-independent variable cam timing, improving power and efficiency. The engine offers cylinder deactivation tech, so the motor can run on just two cylinders in certain scenarios. An integrated exhaust manifold, new turbocharger and direct fuel injection make for what promises to be a rorty combination.
The fun doesn't stop there as the ST features 3 customisable driving modes: Normal, Sport and Track. Normal is self-explanatory, while Sport sees a change in the engine mapping and throttle responsiveness, with the power steering stiffening up. Putting the vehicle into Track mode results in the traction control being disabled completely, while the stability control allows for more playfulness. To top it all, an active exhaust valve and an "electronic sound enhancer" improves the sportiness of the exhaust note. Ford has not said anything about the tyres and suspension yet, however.
The Ford Fiesta ST certainly looks the part and the big talking point is the wheels – the 18-inch alloys really look fantastic. As you can see from the pictures, the Ford Fiesta ST is a 3-door model, but rumours are rife that we'll see a 5-door model join the line-up, too.
In the cabin, Ford has promised some levels of personalisation to go with the new car. Customers will be able to pick from different gear shifters, steering wheel styles, door handles and other trim addenda. Ford's SYNC3 touchscreen infotainment system and a B&O Play audio system will be offered. Recaro seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel add to the sportiness in the cabin.
When will it go on sale?
At this stage, the Ford Fiesta ST is only likely to go on sale in 2018. We estimate that the Ford Fiesta ST will arrive in South Africa after the regular derivatives arrive, therefore around the middle of next year or perhaps a little earlier than that...