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Metal riffs through Fiesta range

Light Metal: It might have two fewer doors, but the Fiesta Metal comes with more power and considerable more equipment for its $2000 price premium over the five-door Zetec variant.

Three-door Fiesta hatch returns in the form of sporty limited edition Metal variant

1 Aug 2012

FORD’S Fiesta three-door hatch will return to the range next month in hotted-up and limited-run ‘Metal’ guise.

It will be priced at $22,990 (plus on-road costs) when it goes on sale in September and only 250 examples will be available in Australia.

Possessing more power and a longer list of standard features compared to the European Zetec model on which it is based, the Fiesta Metal will be a warm-up act to the long-awaited Fiesta ST (Sport Technologies) hot hatch due next year.

Changes to the regular Fiesta 1.6-litre Duratec four-cylinder engine include a different air intake and exhaust system (complete with wider pipes), as well as an engine retune that unleashes an additional 300rpm, delivering 10kW more power (98kW at 6700rpm) and 9Nm more torque (160Nm at 4250rpm).

With a standard five-speed manual gearbox, the European-specification model accelerates from 0-100km/h in 8.7 seconds, slightly faster than the Zetec variant.

Befitting its role as a saucier alternative to the popular Zetec, the Metal arrives Down Under in unique ‘Panther Black’ bodywork (following the Model T in being a Ford product available in any colour as long as it is black).

It boasts 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 205/40R17 tyres, a body kit, silver-painted front grille surround, a special front spoiler, specific front fog lamp bezels and a lower ride height – the latter a result of a sportier suspension set-up.

27 center imageBeing a German-built WS-series model rather than a Thai-made WT, steering wheel reach adjustment makes a welcome return to the series, as does a soft-moulded rubberised instrument panel top in lieu of the cheaper and harder plastic item that blights other current Fiestas (recently discontinued Econetic excepted) since the latter half of 2010.

Further improvements include black leather seats with silver stitching, piano-black centre console, air-vent rings and door pulls, leather wrapping for the steering wheel, gear shifter and hand brake, alloy pedal covers, stainless steel door scuff plates and Metal-specific floor mats.

Reflecting its place in the Fiesta hierarchy, Metal also scores heated front seats, climate-control air-conditioning, keyless push-button start, an auto-dipping interior mirror, automatic projector headlights with follow-me-home lighting, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, and privacy glass.

This is in addition to standard Zetec features including seven airbags (dual front, side and curtain, and driver’s knee), Bluetooth phone connectivity, Voice Control system, cruise control, power windows, remote central locking, and electronic brake-force distribution.

While the Metal is the sportiest Fiesta sold in Australia since the demise of the well-received WQ-series XR4 in 2008, it falls short of taking on the hot-selling 132kW/250Nm Volkswagen Polo GTI, which starts off from $27,790 for the three-door model with a standard seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

The Fiesta Metal was unveiled in Britain last September, when Ford said it planned to produce only 1000 examples at the Cologne plant in three colours (blue and white being the other two).

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