FOUND IN MK7 FIESTA ST (180)
The 1.6-litre version of the EcoBoost first appeared back in 2010, and its heritage can be traced back to the Sigma/Zetec SE engines from the early 2000s. The 1.6 is probably the most robust of the entire EcoBoost family; it can certainly take the biggest increases in power before a full rebuild and upgraded internals are required.
A simple remap and air filter will take power to well over 200bhp, and there are various different levels of tuning in staged increments from there. The next step is to add some supporting hardware such as a decent exhaust and intercooler, but the 1.6 is capable of so much more. The stock BorgWarner K39 turbo provides plenty of get-up-and-go lower down in the rev range, but when you start to exceed 240bhp it becomes a bit of a bottleneck.
Thankfully there are several turbo options to suit all power levels and budgets, with power outputs from 260-to-280bhp right through to 400bhp-plus. We’ve even heard of cars producing those kinds of power figures on factory rods and pistons.
One thing to look out for is cam bucket wear; the shim that drives the high-pressure fuel pump wears down, which can cause fuel pressure to reduce and total engine meltdown. Thankfully, it’s cheap and easy to fix as part of regular servicing.