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Ford Fiesta ST has serious bang for buck

Red rocket: Ford's Fiesta ST hot hatch will come here from Germany as a three-door proposition only.

No free track time, but bargain $25,990 price for Ford’s Fiesta ST pocket rocket

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2 Aug 2013

UPDATED at 15:05 FORD’S forthcoming 134kW Fiesta ST hot hatch will kick off from a razor-sharp $25,990 plus on-road costs when it hits Australian showrooms in September.

But Ford’s Australian arm has no plans to sweeten the deal even further by throwing in some free track time, unlike its US counterpart. ST buyers in the States are offered a free two-day session at the ST Octane Academy in Utah.

The free course (not including travel expenses) includes track and autocross training in track-prepped Focus and Fiesta ST models, as well as some time behind the wheel of a race kart and a tour of rally driver Ken Block’s racing headquarters.

Ford’s Australian brand communication manager Neil McDonald told us the plan, while interesting, was a US initiative only.

One for the purists, the German-made three-door pocket rocket matches a turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine producing 132kW of power at 5750rpm and 240Nm of torque between 1500 and 5000rpm exclusively to a six-speed manual gearbox only.

Several rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo GTI, Skoda Fabia RS and the forthcoming Renault Sport Clio will be dual-clutch automatics only.

This figure grows to 147kW and 290Nm with the overboost feature engaged, with the 0-100km/h sprint expected to be dispatched in sub-7.0 seconds. Fuel use is a claimed 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle.

Its starting price compares favourably to key rivals including the 132kW/250Nm Volkswagen Polo GTI ($27,990), 141kW/230Nm Opel Corsa OPC ($28,990), and the Fabia RS ($27,990) that shares the same output with its Polo sibling but is wrapped in a five-door body.

It will also slot in beneath the all-new 147kW/275Nm Peugeot 208 GTi set to launch here next month, priced from $29,990. The final piece in this Euro hot-hatch renaissance Down Under will be the currently unpriced 147kW/240Nm Renault Sport Clio five-door due here in early 2014.

Ford’s new Fiesta flagship will launch alongside the rest of updated light-car range next September (pricing for which was revealed yesterday, see separate story linked below).

Earlier this week, Ford of Europe revealed the German-built ST was selling at almost twice the projected running rate during its first six months of sales. The Blue Oval said 10,000 orders had been taken for the car – most in the UK and Germany – and that it had upped production at its Cologne plant by 15 per cent in response.

Ford Australia’s supplies are said to be secure, however, with the company having locked away a number of advanced orders already, according to Mr McDonald.

“Australian supplies are secure. It’s clear though that our customers in Europe and the UK have quickly realised that the Fiesta ST is the performance hatch to have,” he told us.

The ST will be the sole three-door offering in the range, but will share the same signature Aston Martin-esque trapezoidal grille.

Sporting touches include the honeycomb mesh at the front and the racier rear diffuser, LED daytime running lights up front and a specific colour palette including shades such as Molten Orange, Race Red and Performance Blue.

Twin chrome tailpipes are tuned to give off a growl higher up the rev range, while a “sound symposer” feeds engine noise straight from the intake into the cabin.

Inside, the cabin features carbon-fibre look inserts, Recaro sports seats, alloy pedals and gear-shifter, a chunky new steering wheel, ST-badged scuff plates and thicker carpet mats. An eight-speaker sound system with a 4.2-inch screen, a USB connection and Bluetooth streaming will be standard.

The list of standard equipment extends to keyless entry and start, auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto wipers and auto projector headlights, rear parking sensors, single-zone climate control air, cruise control and ‘ambient’ interior lighting.

The ST will get a more advanced Sync entertainment system than its stablemates, including segment-first Emergency Assist, a system familiar from bigger Fords that uses the driver’s mobile phone to dial emergency services when an airbag deploys or the fuel shut-off system engages.

“The Fiesta ST is your all-in hot-hatch with outstanding driving dynamics, EcoBoost power and a full suite of smart technology features buyers don’t expect in this segment,” said Ford Australia general marketing manager David Katic.

“We feel the aggressive starting price and outstanding fuel economy will give customers another reason to consider the Fiesta ST.

“Since the global Fiesta ST program was announced, Ford Australia received a huge amount of interest from customers and we are very happy to say, the wait is almost over for Australian performance enthusiasts.”

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