THE 2017 Ford Fiesta ST will tap a tiny 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that can pump out 147kW and 290Nm – but run as a two-cylinder fuel miser when it needs to.
The carmaker has revealed a new version of its entry-level performance hatchback that will bow at March’s Geneva Motor Show. And despite the tiny donk, Ford Performance reckons the three-door will sprint from rest to 100km/h in just 6.7 seconds, 0.3sec faster than the 134kW/240Nm car it will replace.
When it goes on sale in Australia in 2018 it will be the first-ever three-cylinder car from Ford’s performance stable to wear the ST badge.
Three- and five-door versions are planned for Europe. You’ll be able to tell them apart from cooking versions of the Ford Fiesta at a glance – they’ll feature race car-inspired grilles and sit on unique 18-inch wheels.
The ST’s alloy engine is an advance on the 1.0-litre three-pot used in the Fiesta Sport sold in Australia.
Badged an EcoBoost because of the new turbocharger it wears, the twin-cam engine uses a combination of port and direct fuel injection to help boost performance.
The engine uses an integrated exhaust manifold that delivers torque faster by minimising the distance exhaust gasses travel between cylinders and the turbocharger. It can also shut down a cylinder while coasting or cruising to save fuel.
The Fiesta ST will also come fitted with a particulate filter – Mercedes-Benz has said its petrol-engined cars will all soon come with similar soot-scrubbing technology.
Adding to the list of debuts, the Fiesta ST will also become the first Ford Performance model to switch between normal, sport and track driving modes.
Ignoring normal mode because, well, who’d use it, the sport mode remaps the engine and throttle response, and the electric power steering assistance adjusts to offer “more
feedback and finer control for fast road driving”.
A valve opens to “intensify” the exhaust noise, while inside the cabin, the audio system pipes in synthetic sounds that make the three-pot sound like what we assume is anything but a three-pot.
One of the important details that has failed to come out in the official reveal is who will be changing gears. The current version of the ST comes with a six-speed manual transmissions, but rivals including the Renault Clio RS and Volkswagen Polo GTI either stick to a dual-clutch automatic, or offer a manual shifter as an option.
Inside, the Fiesta ST will get a flat-bottomed steering wheel that’s becoming something of a performance car signature, heavily bolstered Recaro seats and a long list of optional bits of trim and styling packs.
The Geneva Motor Show starts on March 7. Keep an eye on WheelsMag.com.au for all the news from the show floor as it happens.