It looks like the new WRC regulations are bringing us a new hot hatch next year. Ford’s entry in the WRC, the Fiesta S2000, has finally inspired a range-topping Fiesta ST powered by a 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine.
We’ve been waiting for a hot Mk7 Fiesta for a while, with the only option up until now being the 118bhp Zetec S. There’s been a lot of ‘will they, won’t they’ when it comes to a new Fiesta ST, but it now looks like it will be arriving in 2012.
With the S2000 regulations insisting on nothing more than a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine it seems that the obvious choice to fit in the ST is Ford’s new turbocharged 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine, which is vaguely related to the competition engine. This should give the Fiesta ST around 180bhp and make it a direct rival for the VAG group of hot hatch clones – the Skoda Fabia vRS, SEAT Ibiza Cupra, VW Polo GTI and Audi A1 TFSi.
While the Fiesta might be level-pegging on power, it has one big advantage – it weighs a lot less. Take the Fabia vRS as an example – it weighs 1,318 kg and offers 136 bhp/ton. Now the current Fiesta Zetec S weighs 1,045 kg, so let’s speculate and say that the Fiesta ST will tip the scales at 1,100 kg. That would work out at 163 bhp/ton, a big difference.
Then there’s the Renaultsport Clio 200 to consider. The extra 20bhp of the Clio’s 2.0-litre engine should tip the balance in its favour, but the turbocharged Fiesta will have more torque and also undercuts the weight of its French rival by over 100kg. The Clio Cup works out with a minimal advantage at 166 bhp/ton, so the Fiesta ST could be much more competitive than the power figures might suggest.
As yet there’s no official word on performance or price but it’s a safe bet to say that the Fiesta ST will be priced at close to £16,000, undercutting most of its rivals.