Not so fast?

Motor (Australia) - - FIRST DRIVE -

NOW, I re­alise I’ve been say­ing that I’m not sure about the 407kW WP quotes for this car. But I’m def­i­nitely draw­ing the line at call­ing it a porkie. Some­times what feels like a hugely pow­er­ful car isn’t. And, just as of­ten, you get a car that feels a bit life­less that turns out to be a rocket on the strip. It’s down to per­cep­tion from the driver’s seat, which can be mis­lead­ing.

If, for in­stance, you jumped straight from a Toy­ota 86 into a Fi­esta ST and were asked to nom­i­nate the quicker car, you’d prob­a­bly point at the Fi­esta. It feels perky and ballsy down low, mak­ing you think it’s fast. The 86 can feel lethar­gic and needs to be belted to get it near its power-zone. And even when you do, it doesn’t thrill you like the Ford. Around town, it kind of feels a bit limp and too much like hard work. Again, that’s the per­cep­tion.

But what about the re­al­ity? Well, on pa­per, the two are very close. Both make 147kW of power (when the ST is on over­boost) the dif­fer­ence be­ing that in the Ford it turns up at about 6000rpm and in the Toy­ota, you need 7000rpm show­ing. The Fi­esta thumps the 86 with 290Nm at about 2000rpm or so (on over­boost) ver­sus 205Nm pro­duced at a scream­ing 6400rpm.

So the Fi­esta is gonna rip the 86 a new one at the strip? Er, not so much. In fact, the 86 is a tad faster across 400m and while the best we’ve man­aged from a Fi­esta ST is a low-15, I clearly re­call run­ning an 86 down the hot­mix and look­ing down to see 14.9. Point is, trust your in­stincts, but don’t be blind to the hard data ei­ther. I’d still buy the Fi­esta ST, though…

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