NEW FIESTA ST
We get a closer look at the next generation Fiesta ST.
The current outgoing Mk7 Fiesta ST is the best Fiesta yet; a bold statement, but one that’s hard to disagree with. Which means that the next generation Mk8 Fiesta ST is going to need to be something very special if it’s going to top its predecessor.
Thankfully, from the first glimpse of the all-new Mk8 ST at the Geneva Motor Show recently it looks like Ford have picked up where the Mk7 ST left off with the new Mk8 version, taking inspiration from the Mk3 Focus RS with the addition of selectable Drive Modes and an active exhaust system, as well as the latest Sync 3 and various in-car entertainment goodies too.
The next generation Fiesta ST will be powered by an all-new 1.5-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. Die-hard fans may scoff at the lack of cylinders, but if the performance of the 1.0-litre version in the current Fiesta is anything to go by – which is easily tuned to around 180bhp, and over 200bhp is possible with the right mods – a larger capacity variant of the same basic design sounds like a winner to us!
Ford are saying that the new 1.5-litre engine will produce 200PS and 290Nm torque in stock form. That’s more than the current 1.6-litre four-pot, and puts the Mk8 ST on par with the Mk7’s limited-edition ST200 straight out of the box!
In order to achieve such impressive figures the 1.5-litre’s architecture is designed to offer as much torque at low engine rpms as possible, and makes full use of the latest turbo tech to ensure lag is minimal.
The 1.5-litre unit also makes use of something Ford are calling ‘cylinder deactivation technology’, where the engine actually shuts down one cylinder to become a two-pot under certain conditions! This sounds crazy but it saves fuel and meets the ever-tightening emissions laws, meaning that it allows cars like the new ST to be built in the first place! Without innovative ideas like this, we simply wouldn’t have exciting cars any more as they’d all be killed off for not meeting the latest ‘green’ targets! But fear not, when you put your foot down all cylinders fire up to give you maximum performance, and Ford say that the system can disengage and re-engage the cylinder in 14 milliseconds – 20 times faster than a blink of the eye!
Like the Mk3 Focus RS, the Mk8 Fiesta ST will feature selectable Drive Modes. You’ll be able to choose from Normal, Sport, or Track. Also, like the RS, the new ST will feature an active exhaust system too. The ‘Electronic Sound Enhancer’ (ESE) technology works in conjunction with the different Drive Modes to switch between comfortable, everyday noise levels and a more satisfying, sporty note.
In Normal mode everything is set to the base setting; the engine mapping, electronic stability control (ESC), electronic power-assisted steering (EPAS), and ESE valve are all set to deliver a natural responsiveness for everyday use.
But flick the switch to engage Sport mode and everything gets turned up a notch. The engine mapping and throttle response are sharper, the EPAS settings are turned up a bit to
provide more feedback through the steering wheel, and the ESE is intensified to provide a sporty exhaust note and enhance the engine noise within the cabin. Track mode, as the name suggests, is for those wanting to set the fastest possible lap time. Everything gets turned up to the maximum for the best possible performance, and the traction control gets turned off while the ESC system is set to wide-slip mode to not interfere too much.
Talking of the ESC and traction control, they can be adjusted, independently of the Drive mode too. You can choose from three settings: full intervention with everything turned on, wide-slip mode with limited intervention, and full system de-activation with everything turned off!
WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
The next generation ST is based on the new Mk8 Fiesta platform, and is available in both three- and five-door bodyshells. As well as the customary bodykit and funky new alloys, the Mk8 ST will offer more personalization options than ever before, including several interior trim elements as well as distinctive Styling Packs for owners to choose from.
The interior boasts Recaro bucket seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and Ford’s latest Sync 3 system - with the option of upto 8-inch touchscreen display as well as the very latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The Mk8 ST also comes with a top of the range B&O PLAY sound system too! On the outside there’s even a new Performance Blue colour option to choose from too!
The Mk8 Fiesta ST is expected to go on sale in early 2018, and we can’t wait get behind the wheel for ourselves. Also, don’t be surprised to see a few examples on show at various big events and festivals throughout the summer months this year, as Ford will undoubtedly want to showcase their latest hot hatch ahead of the official launch!
At the time of going to press no official pricing info has been released, but we will keep you up to date with these and all further developments over on our website ( www.fastfordmag.co.uk).
Following the hugely successful Mk7 Fiesta ST is not going to be easy, but we reckon the Mk8 Fiesta ST looks up to the task!
Flat-bottom steering wheel and Recaros join the Sync 3 system on the interior