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Ford to Add High-Performance Fiesta ST Model

A "distinctive growl" - and more power than a Mini Cooper S.

by on Nov.27, 2012

Ford will get into the hot hatch market with the launch of the 2014 Fiesta ST.

Ford plans to power up its new 2014 Fiesta subcompact.  Barely a week after announcing it will add a new 1.0-liter version of its EcoBoost technology to the updated Fiesta line, it now says it also will add a sportier ST version to rival the likes of the Fiat 500 Abarth and Mini Cooper S.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST will bring the sportiest version of the Fiesta to the U.S. market from Europe, where the ST designation was first introduced. Ford has also launched an ST version of the larger Focus model. It will be powered by a 197-horsepower, 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine.

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“There’s a big opportunity” to appeal to young buyers who aren’t interested in the conventional American definition of a muscle car, which would be a larger product like the Ford Mustang powered by a more fuel-hungry V-8, explained Jim Farley, Ford’s global marketing czar.

A prototype version of the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST with chief engineer Jamal Hameedi.

The maker provided a select group of journalists a first look at the Fiesta ST during a preview of its plans for the upcoming LA Auto Show.

The Fiesta itself has proven to be one of Ford’s more successful recent product launches, drawing in a youthful audience in coastal markets, such as Los Angeles, where domestic makers have struggled for sales in recent decades.

The next-generation Fiesta was revealed in Europe several months ago and will reach U.S. showrooms next spring.  The Fiesta line-up will expand significantly, Ford last week announcing plans to offer a new 1.0-liter 3-cylinder version of its EcoBoost engine family in the Fiesta that Farley promises will be “the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid model sold in the U.S.”

But the small engine will also offer a significant performance boost compared to Fiesta’s base 1.6-liter normally aspirated engine – albeit at a premium expected to run into the $100s.

(For more on the new 1.0-liter EcoBoost for the Fiesta, Click Here.)

Ford will offer optional Recaro sport seats.

The 2014 Fiesta ST will see the subcompact line offer a second of Ford’s four EcoBoost engine, a 1.6-liter inline-four making 197 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque – 16 hp and 20 lb-ft more than a Mini Cooper S.  Though final specs are still under development, anticipate 0 to 60 times of about 6 seconds — compared to roughly 9 seconds for the current Fiesta with a naturally aspirated 1.6-liter I-4.

Ford notably promises little of the traditional turbo lag or torque steer – where the car pulls to one side or the other – traditionally experienced with turbo models.

“There’s no waiting at all for the power to just push you back in your seat,” said Fiesta engineer Mark Roberts.

The Fiesta ST will use the subcompact’s sportier 5-door hatchback body style, rather than the 4-door sedan which has largely appealed to value-minded buyers, according to Ford.  And, like the 1.0-liter package, the Fiesta ST will stick with a manual transmission – though in this case a 6-speed.

Exterior changes will include a unique grille and rear spoiler - and this Molten Orange paint.

Significantly, Ford will make almost no changes from the European version of the Fiesta ST when it brings the new model over to the States.  That will mean a stiffer suspension than the more mainstream Fiesta line, as well as four-wheel disc brakes with larger rotors and beefed-up pads.  The ride height, meanwhile, will be lowered by 15 millimeters, or more than half an inch.  And there will be three different modes allowing for reduced intervention by the car’s electronic stability control system.

The vehicles will get a number of interior and exterior updates, as well, including a unique grille and 17-inch wheels, and details like a high-mounted spoiler aimed at improving aerodynamics. The interior will be offered with optional Recaro sport seats.

The Fiesta ST was developed during extensive testing on the German Nurburgring, according to vehicle chief engineer Jamal Hameedi, as well as the “B,” or back roads, of Britain.

As with most performance car fans, Ford expects Fiesta ST buyers will want to hear the growl of the 1.6-liter engine and the new model will get “sound symposer” pipes that will boost the amount of engine induction noise that enters the cabin, which Hameedi described as a “distinctive growl.”

But unlike traditional muscle cars, the maker believes fuel economy will also be a factor in the buying decision and it anticipates that the turbocharged package will still yield as much as 35 mpg on the highway.

Ford plans to launch the U.S. version of the 2014 Fiesta ST next autumn. Pricing and final mileage specifications will be released closer to that launch.

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