Ford is readying a new Fiesta ST – a hot hatch to take the Fiesta back to its hot hatch roots, CAR understands. This latter-day Fiesta XR2i is testing Ford's new 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine turbocharged and tickled to around 180bhp.
Our spies caught the Fiesta ST testing around Ford's global HQ in Dearborn outside Detroit. The car is remarkably undisguised, considering we're unlikely to see it until the Geneva motor show 2011. Are you sure it's a Ford Fiesta ST?
Pretty confident, yes. Ford showed off a quartet of tricked-up Fiestas at the 2009 Los Angeles auto show, but this prototype differs in styling detail and seems to have all the engineering hallmarks of a production car.
Under the new One Ford mantra, the Blue Oval is developing world cars once more – and that includes performance versions. That's good news for us Europeans; hitherto unlikely go-faster Fords are now being enabled by the global economies of scale allowed by production streamlining.So how fast will the new 2011 Fiesta ST be?
Anybody's guess. But we know the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine premiered in the new C-Max will fit in the Fiesta engine bay. It's turbocharged and directly injected to boost power and trim emissions, and it'll produce an easy 180bhp before Ford's tuning experts have been let loose.
That's competitive with the class rivals, which top out at 200bhp in the loonier Clios and Corsas. Ford has a keen nose for accessibility and will be eager to make sure the Fiesta has maximum sales potential rather than outright performance clout.
The Fiesta ST hot hatch is being developed by Jost Capito's latest global performance car division in the US, helping to explain why we caught this Fiesta test hack in Dearborn. It appears to be a US-spec Fiesta with its subtly different grille, but its bigger rear spoiler, fresh front styling, stout twin exhausts and aero addenda point to how you can expect the faster Fiesta to look at launch in 2011.What about a Fiesta RS?
Don't get your hopes up. Ford investigated a Fiesta RS before, but found the pricing/volumes numbers too hard to stack up. Looking at the styling direction of the Fiesta ST, we can imagine this fulfilling the needs of most. That ST badge is a dead cert for Europe, but expect an SVT name or similar for the US and other markets where ST and RS are less well known.