“Everybody is free to write what they like and how they interpret my smile, but it’s all rumours,” Ford Performance chief Leo Roeks said to Wheels. “I cannot, and I will not speak about future products.”
“I think it may be wishful thinking – or wishful hearing – but if I say ‘I can’t speak about it’ some people might interpret that as a yes,” said Roeks, inferring that the mention of ‘future product’ is sometimes mistaken as tacit admission of a rumoured vehicle’s existence when it should not be.
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Wheels understands that there’s little-to-no inertia behind the idea of bringing another Fiesta RS to market. Ford put an RS badge on the back of a Fiesta back in 1990 with the Fiesta RS Turbo to create a faster, gruntier version of the Fiesta XR2, but it hasn’t revisited a two-tier Fiesta hot hatch strategy since 1994. Why? The cost of engineering a compact AWD driveline and higher-output engine would surely demolish profit margins, and there’s also the issue of ensuring enough separation between performance versions of the Fiesta and the next-generation Focus ST.
What’s more, after having driven the new Fiesta ST in anger, the argument could be made that the new ST performs the way many punters would expect a Fiesta RS to drive. Dialling things up may simply be unnecessary.
And so it appears that the new-gen 147kW/290Nm Fiesta ST, which arrives here around March 2019, will be the only hi-po model in the Fiesta family for the foreseeable. But while dreams of a four-pot turbo, all-wheel drive Fiesta may be dashed, there’s still hope for those yearning for an even more muscular Ford compact.
With Roeks predicting that 147kW per litre could become the new norm for performance cars, there’s potential for the wick on the 2019 Fiesta ST’s turbocharged 1.5 litre three-cylinder to be wound up further. Just don’t expect it to get an RS badge.