It might be called Revenge of the Killer B’s II. With entrants from Ford, Mazda and Fiat joining Honda’s Fit in what is known in the industry as the ‘B’ segment, it would seem only natural (Darwinian, even…) for there to evolve ‘hot’ versions of same. And while a MazdaSpeed 2 and Mugen-modified Fit wait offshore or off the immediate radar, Fiat has formalized plans for importation of an Abarth-spec 500 and Ford just released details of a Fiesta ST concept. They call it – and you guessed it – the Fiesta ST Concept.
In a preview given to automotive media, the Fiesta ST Concept was announced in conjunction with the production reveal of the Focus ST, the performance variant of the ‘cooking’ 5-door Focus. Specific details of the Fiesta Concept were more elusive, and no sheetmetal was shown; the actual vehicle was still being prepped for this month’s Los Angeles show. Based on early photography, Ford has checked most of the boxes in transforming its relatively pedestrian – albeit expressive – Fiesta 5-door into something more fast and furious. With approximately 180 horsepower from 1.6 liters, we think it will be fast, while suspension mods and cosmetic details suggest a slightly milder form of furious.
The heart of the ST equation is under the hood. Whereas the Focus ST receives a 2.0 liter EcoBoost four developing almost 250 horsepower, the Fiesta Concept will ‘make do’ with 1.6 liters, roughly 180 horsepower and a more-than-competitive 177 lb-ft of torque. With Ford’s goal of adding power while reducing emissions the Company hopes to attract the hot hatch enthusiast while maintaining – or enhancing – its environmental bonafides.
On the outside the Fiesta ST Concept goes about its business with some degree of restraint. Up front, the same trapezoidal grille that identifies the Focus ST has been adapted to the Fiesta’s smaller aperture. And at the back, a “dramatic” (per Ford) diffuser indelibly stamps the Fiesta ST as a player while enveloping a twin –exit exhaust. A lowered suspension and widened wheel arches suggest World Rally, while 17-inch alloys provide Ford the option of installing larger brake rotors.
Although not referenced in the announcement, Ford and others continue to work on minimizing front-wheel drive effect when connecting those front wheels with high power outputs. We’d expect a production ST to benefit from similar thinking and should prove an absolute blast to drive.
If response from performance enthusiasts to the ST Concept approaches that of commuters to the more pedestrian Fiesta, we’re on the cusp of enjoying performance hatches in numbers the U.S. has never before seen. VW’s GTI, the MazdaSpeed 3 and Mini’s Cooper S have paved the way, but – in relative terms – almost timidly. If Ford’s ST program receives a push commensurate with Ford’s resources, this could be a golden era for a unique combination of sport and utility. Hammer on…
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