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Ford’s fun babycar Fiesta ST gets serious upgrade for ’18

  • Mechanical limited-slip diff to enhance cornering
  • Launch control, sharper turn-in for fun-to-drive ride
  • 150kW 1.5 EcoBoost engine has only three cylinders
2018 FORD FIESTA ST: Image: Ford / Newspress
2018 FORD FIESTA ST: Image: Ford / Newspress

COLOGNE, Germany – Ford today revealed further details of the sophisticated Sports Technologies that will deliver the most responsive, engaging and fun-to-drive Fiesta ST experience ever.

Ford revealed the all-new Fiesta ST in 2017 with a 150kW, three-cylinder, 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine which for the first time has selectable push-button drive modes to modify engine, steering and stability: Normal, Sport and Track.

That last is said to shift the vehicle’s character from flexible everyday hatchback to track-focused sport car.

2018 FORD FIESTA ST: Image: Ford / Newspress
2018 FORD FIESTA ST: Image: Ford / Newspress

The now 2018 Fiesta ST also has:

  • Industry-first cylinder deactivation to shut a cylinder to reduce fuel burn.*
  • Exhaust valve technology to amplify the already sporty three-cylinder engine/exhaust sound.
  • Optional stuff includes SYNC 3 web connectivity, B&O Play audio, and sophisticated driving assistance technology that includes lane-keeping and traffic sign recognition

Leo Roeks, Ford Europe’s performance director, told The Corner in a media release: “Hot-hatch drivers are expecting big things from this small car. We’ve applied what we’ve learned from recent Ford Performance models such as the Focus RS and Ford GT to develop an all-new Fiesta ST that claims to set a new standard for driving fun in its segment.

”It has a throaty three-cylinder soundtrack that will speak to petrol-heads whatever their language.”

READ MORE Ford Fiesta features on Carman’s Corner

Ford Performance says the cars can provide everyday usability and fuel-efficiency alongside an exceptional driving experience ”that flatters the novice while rewarding the expert”.

The cars are expected to be available (in Europe, at least) by May 2018.

This the third-generation Fiesta ST will be the first with an (optional) Quaife limited-slip differential to benefit front-wheel traction for better corneriingability – ”particularly by delivering more grip on corner exits”.

2018 FORD FIESTA ST: Image: Ford / Newspress
2018 FORD FIESTA ST: Image: Ford / Newspress

It’s a mechanical system to limit torque distribution to the front wheel with less grip – for example, the inside wheel while cornering – to reduce wheelspin and deliver more torque to the wheel with better grip.

”This new LSD,” Ford says, ”works with torque vectoring tech that improves cornering and reduces understeer by braking the inside front wheel.”

CLEVER TORQUE-DELIVERY

The car’s balance, Ford adds, has been tuned by Ford Performance to deliver the best possible grip on a dry surface and smoothness on wet.

Roeks added: “Performance-car drivers will be familiar with the dreaded ‘one-wheel peel’ during which a fast-corner exit is hampered by an overload of torque to the inside wheel.

“We’ve tuned the ST’s LSD to work seamlessly with torque vectoring control to deliver the best possible natural traction without ‘burning away’ excess torque with braking intervention.”

2018 FORD FIESTA ST: Image: Ford / Newspress
2018 FORD FIESTA ST: Image: Ford / Newspress

Special springs improve stability, agility and response of the cars’ twist-beam rear suspension, Ford says, to ”deliver a more connected feel and contribute to an exceptional fun-to-drive experience”.

Advantages include:

  • Sharper turn-in and response to steering input
  • Shedding 10kg against a Watt’s linkage
  • Compatibility with traditional shock-absorbers
  • No compromise on comfort, ride quality or refinement

They are unique to this Fiesta.

Roeks explained. “The car’s sophisticated shocks self-adjust to tune out high-frequency road imperfections when there is limited demand for damping – such as on a freeway – but adjust reset to deliver road-holding when driven hard.”

Launch control (track use only) will enable ST drivers to, well, do what it is supposed to do. It’s set through steering-wheel controls and displayed on a dedicated display. Keeping the throttle wide open will instruct the system to build engine rpm and automatically hold at the rev limit – filling an on-screen gauge that indicates when the car is ready to go.

THREE DRIVE MODES

Dropping the clutch  then enables an optimised standing start with stability and traction control, torque vectoring / steer compensation managing power/torque delivery.

Selectable Drive Modes add even more versatility for the all-new Fiesta ST, enabling drivers to optimise the driving experience to suit scenarios from school run to the race track:

The cars have the fastest steering ratio of any Ford Performance model – 14% faster than the previous generation Fiesta ST200 – and high-performance brakes with 278mm vented front and 253mm solid rear discs.

And so to the engine… The new 1.5 EcoBoost has turbocharging, high-pressure fuel-injection, variable cam timing and three-cylinder architecture to deliver 150kW at 6000rpm and 290Nm from 1600-4000rpm.

Zero to 100 can be as quick as 6.5sec with 230km/h possible (under safe conditions).

…AND THE LITTLE EXTRAS

Available from launch (again, in Europe) will be three- and five-door versins with ST exterior styling and standard 17 or optional 18” alloy wheel rims Three equipment levels will be available.

Body colours include white, silver, blue, red, black and a second silver shade called Silver Fox. Standard in the cabin are Recaro seats, ST gear-shifter and flat-bottomed steering wheel – it’s stitching repeated on the leather handbrake lever and gearshift gaiter.

A standard SYNC3 communication / entertainment system with a 16.5cm (20cm option) will enable Fiesta ST drivers to control audio, satnav and smartphone connection. An option is a B&Os  Play sound system.

Standard driving assistance tech includes lane-keeping, cruise control, auto wipers and headlights / high beam and road-sign recognition.

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