Ford has taken the wraps off their next-generation Fiesta ST hothatch packed with a new 1.5-litre turbocharged EcoBoost – wait for it – three-cylinder engine!
Now before you cast the latest Fiesta ST off because of its cylinder deficit, the new mill actually produces more power and torque than the old 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, delivering 147kW and 290Nm of torque – up from 134kW and 240Nm and identical to last year’s hardcore ST200 variant. 0-100km/h is now done in 6.7 seconds.
The all-aluminium engine features an integrated exhaust manifold for improved efficiency thanks to reduced warm-up times while also improving torque delivery by minimising the distance travelled by the exhaust gases between the turbocharger and the cylinders.
There’s also cylinder deactivation where fuel delivery and valve operation pause for one of the cylinders when the engine is operating under partial load such as when coasting or cruising under part-throttle. Ford says the shut down and firing back of the cylinder is done in just 14 ms.
Like before, the engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels. And to tame torque steer, Ford has equipped the Fiesta ST with a brake-applied torque vectoring system where brake is applied to the inside front wheel to reduce understeer when cornering.
New to the Fiesta ST is a three mode driver-selectable drive modes – Normal, Sport and Track. In Normal mode, the traction and stability control, electronic sound enhancement (ESE), active exhaust valve and electronic power assisted steering are tuned to deliver “natural responsiveness and a connected feel”.
In Sport mode, the mapping for the engine and throttle a sharper, while the power steering is set up for more feedback and finer control. The ESE, which Ford says amplifies the “natural sporty sound” of the 1.5 litre engine, is also stepped up a notch while the exhaust valve is opened to pump up the exhaust note.
In Track mode, all parameters are tuned for ‘the fastest possible lap times”, with traction control disabled and ESC set to a ‘wide-slip’ mode. The ESC can also be set up in three levels – fully switched on, wide-slip mode with partial intervention and fully off.
The 2018 Fiesta ST will be available both in three and five-door variants. They can be distinguished from ‘lesser’ Fiestas by the sportier front fascia, side skirts, body-coloured rear diffuser with twin tailpipes and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, Recaro seats make a return while a flat-bottomed steering wheel, Ford’s latest SYNC 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are standard. A thumping 675W, 10-speaker B&O Play sound system will be offered as an option.