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Exactly how quick is the Ford Fiesta ST in the real world?

By Trent Giunco, 02 Apr 2020 Features

2020 Ford Fiesta ST track performance

We bolt on timing gear and rocket the three-pot turbo Fiesta ST down the drag strip to find out exactly how accurate Ford’s brochure is

Ford’s box-fresh Fiesta ST is one of the best performance cars you can buy right now, with an engaging character filled with charm and corner-carving ability.

While its dynamic ability thrilled us during our first drive, we also took the pocket rocket hot hatch to the dragstrip to find out exactly how quick it is in the real world.

Side stepping launch control, we piloted the Fiesta ST to 100km/h from a standstill in 6.7 seconds before going on to finish the quarter-mile dash in 14.9 seconds at 154.8km/h. Ford’s official acceleration claim for the Fiesta ST is 6.5 seconds.

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2020 Ford Fiesta ST 0-100km/h speed test

That’s not too shabby for a $32,290 hatchback, weighing in at 1208kg and powered by an energetic 147kW/290Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo.

Conditions at Heathcote Park Raceway were hot and greasy, with an ambient temperature of 31 degrees and an unprepared track. Representative of what most Australian drivers would experience during a Summer drive.

Managing wheelspin is the secret to nailing the best time possible, with your level of throttle-pedal finesse directly impacting the amount of axle tramp that ensues.

Read next: Here are the cars the 2020 Ford Focus ST has to beat

2020 Ford Fiesta ST power test

Get the balancing act right and it launches effectively, get it wrong and you’ll be left in the dust by many at the traffic light grand prix. The margin for error is incredibly thin.

Our best time was generated in Track mode with the ESC in its half setting; having it fully on saps way too much power from the front 205-section Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres. Turn everything off and you’ll just end up spinning those Michelin boots and be going nowhere in a hurry.

From the seat of our pants, the ST feels much quicker than the 6.7 seconds as the figure is hampered by the second-to-third shift required just before reaching 100km/h.

Read next: 2020 Performance Car of the Year Track Test

 

2020 Ford Fiesta ST accelerationHowever, there is a little trick that Ford is keeping tight-lipped on that could improve the time further. We didn’t use it on the day in order to not punish the gearbox too much, but the Fiesta ST has the ability to accept a ‘no-lift shift’.

So depending on your level of mechanical sympathy, the claimed figure seems very achievable.

For reference, one of the ST’s closest rivals, the 147kW/320Nm Volkswagen Polo GTI, is also rated at 6.7 seconds for the 0-100km/h dash, but when Wheels tested it in late 2018 it recorded a stout 6.4 second sprint. The VW is identically priced at $32,490 but it’s DSG-only.

What do you think, is the Ford Fiesta ST the hot hatch of the moment?

 

2020 Ford Fiesta ST blue