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Geneva show: Ford locks in Fiesta ST for 2013

Pocket rocket: The Fiesta ST hot hatch has received the production green light and will land Down Under next year.

Production Ford Fiesta ST breaks cover in Geneva ahead of Australian debut in 2013

6 Mar 2012

FORD has finally confirmed it will make a hot ST version of the current Fiesta, revealing a production-ready three-door version at the Geneva motor show today ahead of its Australian debut – still not due until around the middle of next year.

Its eventual arrival here in around 18 months’ time will give the Blue Oval a genuine rival for the likes of the Volkswagen Polo GTI and the recently launched Suzuki Swift Sport, and will complement the bigger Focus ST that is set to hit our shores later this year.

The pocket rocket appears to be almost identical to the ST production concept that first appeared at the Frankfurt show in September last year. Ford also showed a five-door version of this concept at the LA show in November.

Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald has confirmed the car for the booming hot-hatch market Down Under, but told GoAuto it was still too early to confirm whether it would come here in three-door or five-door guises – or both.

Like the concept, the production ST is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine producing 132kW at 5750rpm and 240Nm of torque between 1500 and 5000rpm.

27 center imageThis is said to be enough for a 0-100km/h sprint time under seven seconds and a top speed of around 220km/h.

Despite gains of 22kW and 50Nm over the previous-generation ST (sold here as the XR4 between 2007 and 2009), Ford also promises a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions to below 140g/km and a fuel consumption figure of about 5.8L/100km.

The ST shown at Geneva features a six-speed manual gearbox, but expect Ford to also offer an automatic option, probably a tuned version of the six-speed Powershift dual-clutch transmission already found in regular Fiestas.

Ford claims ride and handling improvements over the normal Fiesta courtesy of a specially-tuned chassis devised by Ford’s RS performance division. The ST sits 15mm lower than the standard model and also gets an enhanced torque-control system.

Ford’s eTVC (electronic Torque Vector Control) system, which is designed to improve precision in high-speed cornering by braking the inside front wheel, debuted in the Focus, but the tweaked version for the Fiesta ST is said to better control vehicle yaw and subsequently further reduce understeer.

The ST also gets a three-mode switchable electronic stability control system that can be programmed to intervene later to allow more skidding and slip, or turned off completely (though this mode does not de-activate the eTVC).

Ford engineers have also tuned the car’s electro-mechanical power steering system and redesigned the steering arm, giving the ST claimed sharper responses and better levels of feedback, as revealed through more than 5000km of testing on the Nurburgring Nordschliefe circuit in Germany.

Larger vented front brakes with bigger 54mm piston callipers are fitted, while discs are also fitted to the rear for the first time on a Fiesta.

The diminutive ST’s sporting credentials are signposted by muscular body enhancements, including a rear spoiler, a black mesh rear diffuser, honeycomb front grille and five-spoke, graphite-coloured alloy wheels.

Inside the cabin are standard Recaro sports seats – in the concept these are contrasting red and black – Ford’s SYNC voice-activated connectivity system and MyKey, which allows owners to limit performance and lock-on electronic safety aids like ESC for when the car used by inexperienced drivers.

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