Extra-fiesty Fiesta possible for NZ entry

There’s local market positivity about the most powerful Fiesta yet.

AN extra-peppy road-ready version of the baby racer that provides the basis for Ford’s world rally championship campaign is being considered for a New Zealand campaign.

Unveiled at this week’s Geneva motor show, the Fiesta ST200 is a more wicked version of the Fiesta ST that, with a handy 42 registrations here last year, has settled in as one of the more popular choices among small sizzler hatchbacks.

The key attraction of the ST200 is that is had more phwoar. Power from the 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine rises about 10 percent over the standard model, from 134kW to 147kW (or 200PS, hence the name), while torque rises by 20 percent from 240Nm to 290Nm.

This makes it the most powerful production Fiesta to date.

Yet there's more: These outputs can be increased further, to 158kW and 320Nm, for up to 15 seconds on overboost. Britain's Autocar magzine says these higher figures give a better indication of the ST200's true performance potential due to the length of the transient overboost.

Ford New Zealand spokesman Tom Clancy confirmed interest in the brand’s Auckland head office is more than lukewarm.

“The Fiesta ST200 … looks fantastic and would be a very welcome addition to our showrooms and more importantly our customers' garages.”

At this stage though, the model is just a potential addition.

“A very nice prospect, one we are looking into it and can't confirm for NZ just yet.”

The extra fizz is enough to ensure the cheeky hatch can race from zero to 100kmh in 6.7 seconds, which is a 0.3s improvement over the ST, while the top speed is 230kmh. Like the regular ST, the ST200 has a six-speed manual gearbox.

That ensures good footing against the opposition. It’s still beaten, by 0.3 seconds, by the 141kW/320Nm Volkswagen Polo GTi – in special order-only manual form - but has a 0.1s advantage over the 153kW/300Nm Peugeot 208 GTi and is dead even with the 147kW/240Nm Renault Clio RS200.

The ST200 also delivers some interesting dynamic tweaks. Modifications over the standard ST hot hatch include a revised front steering knuckle and an enhanced Torque Vectoring Control. It also adopts a three-mode Electronic Stability Control system and an adapted rear twist-beam with increased roll stiffness.

The ‘200’ also adds unique front and rear dampers, a 15mm lower centre of gravity, sharper steering ratio and an enhanced braking system.

Ford has also made quite a few visual amends, including bespoke Storm Grey paint, 17-inch matt black alloy wheels, red calipers, part-leather charcoal Recaro sports seats with silver stitching, silver seatbelts and illuminated tread plates. 

The ST200 is as hot as the Fiesta is set to get, with Ford of Europe recently saying that the car is not in line for RS treatment.

Ford of Europe vice-president for product development Joe Bakaj said the Fiesta ST200 has the potential to become a classic.

“The Fiesta ST is truly beloved by owners and critics. The ST200 takes this special drivers’ car to a new level of power and performance,” he said. “I think it’s a future classic in the making.”

Production starts in June.

Also on the Ford stand at Geneva is the facelifted version of the Kuga mid-size SUV. Ford NZ says this update is unlikely to be see here until next year.