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Geneva show: Ford outs three-pot Fiesta ST

Third-gen Ford Fiesta ST debuts punchy three-pot turbo engine, world-first tech

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Ford logo27 Feb 2017

FORD has surprised performance fans by lopping a cylinder from the engine bay of its third-generation Fiesta ST hot hatch, with an all-new 1.5-litre turbo triple promising more go and less thirst, accompanied by a characterful three-pot note.

Set to make its public debut at the Geneva motor show next week ahead of an early-2018 global launch, the ST flagship of Ford’s latest light car range will also finally be available in five-door guise, while the three-door shape will continue to be available.

Producing 149kW of power and 290Nm of torque, the new all-aluminium engine substantially outguns the same-sized four-pot currently used in the Focus small car and Escape medium SUV and is 15kW and 50Nm more potent than the 1.6-litre unit of the outgoing Fiesta ST.

It is enough to cut two tenths off the fast Fiesta’s 0-100km/h time, now 6.7 seconds, matching light-sized rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo GTI, Renault Clio RS Sport and Mini Cooper S while beating the Peugeot 208 GTI by 0.1s.

Of those only the Polo develops more torque, at 320Nm in manual guise, while the Ford takes overall honours for kilowatt-count. The Fiesta ST is also the most fuel-efficient of the pack, being the only car of its type to have just three cylinders under the bonnet.

Embodying Ford’s ‘Go Further’ slogan, the engine also has cylinder deactivation technology that turns it into a two-cylinder unit under light load conditions – claiming for the Blue Oval a world-first for a production triple.

As a result, Ford expects the Fiesta ST to emit just 114 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide, translating into a combined fuel consumption figure in the region of 4.8 litres per 100 kilometres. It also has a diesel-style particulate filter in the exhaust.

No mention of transmission options is made, but a video clip accompanying the reveal shows the driver operating a manual gearbox. Like its predecessor, as well as its Focus ST and RS bigger brothers, the new ST could be manual-only.

More technology is to be found inside the Fiesta ST cabin, where a drive mode selector has trickled down from the fire-breathing Focus RS to give the driver a choice of normal, sport and track settings for the drivetrain, steering and electronic stability control calibration.

Depending on setting, electronically enhanced engine sounds and a valve in the exhaust system combine to provide drivers with variously evocative sounds from the three-cylinder engine.

There is also a torque vectoring system designed to improve road-holding and reduce understeer by gently braking the inside front wheel during cornering.

Ford of Europe vice-president of product development Joe Bakaj said the new engine and selectable drive modes contribute to the new model being “the most versatile, fun, engaging and rewarding Fiesta ST driving experience yet”.

The latest Sync3 multimedia system will be standard through the 8.0-inch touchscreen, which supports pinch and swipe gestures, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and “conversational” voice commands.

A B&O Play premium audio system will also be available, as part of Ford’s technology partnership with the subsidiary of Danish audio-visual specialists Bang & Olufsen.

The rest of the Fiesta ST interior features Recaro sports seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, with customisable trims and styling packs available to customise the cabin.

A new Liquid Blue exterior colour will be exclusive to the Fiesta ST, as will the bodykit and 18-inch alloy wheel design.

Ford Fiesta ST chief programme engineer Matthias Tonn said the addition of a five-door body style and the broad customisation palette will provide the new model with “broader appeal for an even wider range of car-buyers”.

GoAuto has contacted Ford Australia for local launch timing of the Fiesta ST, but the company is yet to confirm arrival for the regular Fiesta range.

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