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LA show: Ford reveals five-door Fiesta ST

Door jam: The new five-door version of the Fiesta ST will come here in the third quarter next year, but Ford Australia has yet to decide on the three-door.

Global debut for five-door Ford Fiesta ST, but apparent extra power just an illusion

Ford logo29 Nov 2012

FORD today hosted the world debut of what on the surface appears to be even more potent five-door version of its forthcoming Fiesta ST hot hatch at the Los Angeles motor show, ahead of its arrival in Australian showrooms around the third quarter of 2013.

However, the considerably higher power and torque figures are not the result of extra tweaking, but simply a difference in testing regimes between the US and Europe.

The Americans are able to quote peak outputs with the overboost facility engaged, which can only be held for short bursts of up to 20 seconds in the case of the Fiesta ST’s 1.6-litre turbocharged engine.

Ford US therefore claims its pocket rocket produces an estimated 147kW of power (the same as Renault’s benchmark current-generation Clio Sport) and 290Nm of torque from 3500rpm, up from 132kW and 240Nm in the three-door European model that goes on sale in the UK early next year.

As in Europe, the engine is matched exclusively to a six-speed manual gearbox, and Ford has given no word whether it will offer an automatic option at some point. The company had been expected to offer a variation of its existing Powershift dual-clutch transmission.

27 center imageThe Mexican-built, US-market five-door Fiesta ST arrives more than eight months after the three-door version of Ford’s rival to the Volkswagen Polo GTI was unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, and exactly one year after the five-door appeared as a concept at the 2011 LA show.

The Euro version has a claimed zero to 100km/h sprint time of less than seven seconds and a top speed of about 220km/h.

Ford Australia has yet to announce whether it will offer just the five-door or both bodystyles Down Under.

Fiesta calibration supervisor Mark Roberts said the US ST would give “the performance and feel of an engine twice its size”, partially thanks to having 240Nm of torque on tap from 1600rpm. The company claims fuel consumption of around 6.9 litres per 100km.

Under the body, the US ST gets performance calibration from Ford’s RS racing division – just like the European version – but with additional work from its Special Vehicles Team (SVT) based in Dearborn, Michigan.

The steering is said to be more direct and responsive than the base model, with a modified front suspension knuckle helping to yield a quicker overall steering ratio of 13.6:1.

The rear axle gets increased roll stiffness to improve stability through fast corners and, like the European version, the Fiesta ST sits 15 mm lower than the base model.

Again like its cousin from across the Atlantic, the five-door has claimed improvements to road grip thanks to electronic Torque Vectoring Control, which can reduce typical front-drive understeer during hard cornering.

This system debuted on the bigger Focus ST and, as with similar systems such as Volkswagen’s XDL, sends different braking pressure to the inside front wheel.

Also standard is three-mode electronic stability control – the settings are standard, sport or off – enables the ST driver to select the amount of electronic aid provided.

The car gets a mechanical version of the ‘sound symposer’ first used on the Focus ST to provide an enhanced soundtrack by feeding exhaust notes directly into the passenger cabin.

The US five-door features the same cosmetic extras as the three-door, and therefore looks almost identical to the LA concept from 2011.

Additions over more humble Fiesta models include a rear spoiler, a black mesh rear diffuser, honeycomb front grille, and five-spoke graphite-coloured 17-inch alloy wheels. It will be the first Fiesta to get Ford’s Molten Orange tri-coat metallic paint.

Inside the cabin are contrasting red and black sports seats, Ford’s SYNC voice-activated connectivity system, a 6.5-inch LCD screen and MyKey, which allows owners to limit performance and lock on electronic safety aids like ESC for when the car is used by inexperienced drivers.

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