ST tech Revealed More torque, new drive modes and optional LSD for forthcoming hot Fiesta. Text and photography by Sean Carson.
Ford revealed vital specs of its next Fiesta ST last year, tantalising us with figures that indicated it could well cement its position as an Drive-My hot hatch favourite. Now, following an audience with Leo Roeks, director of Ford Performance for Ford of Europe, Drive-My is able to fill in the blanks regarding the rest of the car’s make-up.
We already know it will be powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder motor with 197bhp and 214lb ft of torque – identical outputs to its 1.6-litre four-cylinder predecessor on overboost. The three-pot EcoBoost unit hits its torque peak at 1600rpm – 900rpm sooner – and sustains it through to 4000rpm. Maximum power, meanwhile, is at 6000rpm, 300rpm later. However, the new car has an overboost function too, providing an extra 15lb ft hit for short periods.
There’s a flatshifter system for the six-speed manual transmission – meaning the driver doesn’t have to lift off the accelerator when changing gear – while an optional Performance Pack adds launch control. Together these assist in a 0-62mph time of 6.5sec – down from 6.9sec for the old car. A top speed of 144mph is claimed (up 7mph).
Another option will be a Quaife limitedslip differential, while torque vectoring by braking is standard. The front track has increased by 48mm over the previous ST and torsional rigidity is up by eight per cent, with strengthening braces underneath for ‘a more connected feel’. The steering ratio is the fastest of any performance Ford yet – at 12.1:1 it’s 14 per cent quicker than the old Fiesta ST’s. The brakes are unchanged – 278mm front, 253mm rear – and either 17- or 18-inch wheels are shod with 205-section Michelin Pilot Super Sports.
Roeks is keen to point out that ‘not one component is key. It’s a case of all of the elements working together and getting the best out of them to deliver what an ST should: character. This car has character and personality. It’s about the passion as much as the performance.’
The ethos for the new Fiesta ST was to deliver more stability from the rear axle but the same overall balance as its predecessor, so the torsion-beam rear includes some clever advances. The steel section is 7mm thick, which helps to keep the car flatter when cornering, while stability and agility is improved by ‘force vectoring springs’, which bear some of the lateral force under load, allowing for softer bushes for a more refined ride. This tech is teamed with new frequency-selective dampers, which use trick valving to provide greater support for roll and pitch but reduced harshness over smaller bumps and ridges.
Normal, Sport and Track modes are also new. The last two introduce subtle pops on the overrun and ramp up the electronic engine sound enhancement, while Track relaxes the ESC’s hold over the chassis, allowing greater slip angles. And despite there only being three cylinders, cylinder deactivation also features – a world first on a threepot – to deliver a claimed six per cent improvement in efficiency.
We’ll know how successful Ford’s efforts have been to improve upon the outgoing car when we drive the ST in May. But for now, the signs are positive.
Top left: three-cylinder unit powers new ST to 62mph in 6.5 seconds. Top right: wheel options are 17- or 18-inches. Below: both three- and five-door versions will be available.