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Frankfurt show: Ford turns up Fiesta wick

Pocket rocket: The Fiesta ST Concept has been sprung by Ford at the Frankfurt show, and is a strong chance to go on-sale here.

Spicy Fiesta poised to join Focus in Ford’s global ST hot-model rollout

13 Sep 2011

HARD on the heels of the global launch of the hot Focus ST at the Frankfurt motor show, Ford is tempting hot hatch fans with another pocket rocket, this time in Fiesta guise.

The Fiesta ST Concept was sprung by Ford on its stand at the bi-annual German automotive extravaganza today, and while the Blue Oval is yet to confirm a production version, the most potent Fiesta ever built for the road looks to be a strong chance.

Ford Australia has already confirmed it will take the 184kW Focus ST, replacing the 169kW five-cylinder turbo XR5 of the previous generation and falling into line with the new global naming convention, probably in the second half of next year.

However, the Focus ST will only make it Down Under in five-door hatch guise, with the ST wagon also unveiled in Frankfurt today a Europe-only affair.

A Ford Australia spokesman told GoAuto it was too early to say if the Fiesta ST was a chance for this market, as it had not yet been officially included in the production schedule.

However, he said if Ford gives it the green light, it is likely to be considered.

In Frankfurt, Ford executives were doing anything but rule it out, with group vice-president of product development Derrick Kuzak saying the possibility of a Fiesta ST joining the Focus ST would bring Ford performance to drivers in two major global segments.

27 center imageLeft: Ford Fiesta ST. Below: Focus ST hatch and wagon.

“We’re leveraging our global product platforms to create great new performance vehicles like the Focus ST,” he said.

“By taking advantage of platform efficiencies and focusing our performance engineering resources globally, we can bring performance vehicles to more customers in more markets, plus we’re better positioned for Ford products to compete successfully in global motorsport.” The Fiesta ST – ST stands for Sports Technologies – is said to have been inspired by Ford’s World Rally Championship Fiesta, which was also displayed on the Frankfurt stand.

Judging by the 12-month gestation period for the Focus ST, between its unveiling in concept form at Paris last year and launch in production guise today at Frankfurt, a Fiesta ST can be expected at next year’s Paris show before being rolled out in 2013.

Like the Focus ST, the hot Fiesta is powered by a high-performance version of Ford’s new EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, and both are mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission While the Focus ST gets a 184kW/360Nm version of the 2.0-litre unit, the Fiesta ST Concept is said to be powered by a 1.6-litre unit packing 134kW of power and 240Nm of torque.

Ford claims the Fiesta can bolt to 100km/h in less than seven seconds – more than three seconds faster than the current fastest Fiesta available in Australia, the 1.6-litre Zetec, which achieves that highway speed in about 10.2 seconds.

Top speed of the Fiesta ST is said to be 220km/h.

While the performance credentials of the new ST models were getting plenty of attention in Frankfurt, Ford was also promoting the fuel economy of both cars.

The company says the Focus ST cuts fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 20 per cent over the previous model, while the Fiesta ST’s CO2 emissions target was just 140 grams per kilometre – pipping all other petrol Fiesta models now on the Australian market, the best of which achieve 143g/km.

However, the Fiesta ST’s CO2 reading falls well short of the benchmark diesel Fiesta Econetic and its 98g/km performance.

The Fiesta ST has many styling similarities with the Focus ST, which Ford says is the company’s first global performance car, aimed at 40 countries under Ford’s One Ford strategy.

A wide-open black honeycomb mesh grille with a red ‘ST’ badge to one side is common to both cars, along with side skirts, a rear-mounted wing and alloy wheels in a similar Y-spoke style.

The Focus ST was a collaboration between Ford’s performance car units in Europe – where it is known as Ford Team RS – the United States and Australia.

Ford’s global performance vehicles director Jost Capito said the Focus ST was the first performance model to build on the design and technology strengths of one of Ford’s new global production vehicles.

“It’s a car built for driving enthusiasts all around the world, and they will not be disappointed,” he said.

Mr Capito said Ford had developed a blueprint of core DNA attributes for the steering, driving dynamics, sound quality and the power enhancements for all ST models, so that engineers could “take that global DNA fingerprint and use it to create the new Focus ST”.

All future ST models would get key physical attributes such as the aggressively enhanced front and rear bumpers, rear spoiler and side skirts plus a unique signature colour.

Mr Capito said the Focus ST marked the first application of an EcoBoost four-cylinder engine in a high performance model, adding: “The results are phenomenal.

“Drivers will have a lot of power and torque throughout the rev range to use,” he said. “For everyday driving, though, the characteristics of this car will let them drive in a more fuel efficient way than previously, which is an essential part of the ST’s DNA.” The Focus ST gets a modified version of the Focus electric power assisted steering (EPAS), gaining a feature that counteracts torque steer generated by the high-performance engine.

Ford claims the system allows drivers to accelerate at full throttle and yet still find grip on roads with uneven surfaces or uneven levels of grip and “virtually eliminate” steering-wheel tugging sensation for the driver.

The Focus ST also has selectable electronic stability control with three modes, depending on weather conditions or driver desire for more or less action.

Ford engineers say they put a lot of work into the exhaust note of the new ST – a feature of the previous five-cylinder XR5 engine supplied by Volvo.

Says Capito: “The physics and acoustics of a five-cylinder engine compared to a four-cylinder are very different, but like Beethoven and Mozart – both of whom created fantastic yet very different music – we believe the engine note of the new Focus ST will delight enthusiasts in the same way.” The ST has been lowered by 10mm compared with other Focus models. It gets uprated shock absorbers and springs all round, while at the rear, redesigned suspension knuckles and anti-roll bar have been added for better feedback and control.

The Focus ST gets 18-inch alloy wheels, in a Y-spoke design that follows a similar design to the previous XR5. The wheels are shod with 235/40R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 tyres, specially developed for the car.

The new signature production colour is Tangerine Scream, but the ST will be available in red, white and blue.

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