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Ford gives the new Fiesta ST three cylinders. Image by Ford.

Ford gives the new Fiesta ST three cylinders
Big development: Ford Fiesta ST has 1.5-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost, with 200hp.
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Newer articles featuring 2017 Ford Fiesta

2017-06-29: First drive: Ford Fiesta

What's all this about?

Joy to the world, it's the new Ford Fiesta ST! It's going to be taken to the 2017 Geneva Motor Show and, as you can see, it's the variant based on the attractive seventh-generation Fiesta supermini. Power for the new boy is 200hp, torque is 290Nm and the 0-62mph time is 6.7 seconds. Now, those figures are the same as the Fiesta ST200 run-out edition, but there's a lot to tell you about the new model.

Such as?

Well, how about a three-cylinder engine, for a start?

You're kidding!

We're not. The 1.6-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost turbo of the previous gen has been replaced by a similar forced induction unit that lacks for 100cc of swept capacity and a whole cylinder. Even more astonishing, this - along with the regular 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder - will be the first 'triple' in the automotive industry to be able to run on two cylinders when throttle loads allow. This supposedly cuts CO2 emissions from 140g/km on the outgoing ST200, to 114g/km on the newbie.

I've got to be dreaming, this sounds unreal...

Stay with us, you're awake. At least, we hope you are. Anyway, Ford says the ST's unit can switch from three cylinders to two and back again in 14 milliseconds, or about a 20th of the time it takes to blink, so you should never feel it running as a twin. And bear in mind the SEAT Ibiza FR 'warm' hatch, with the 1.4 TSI engine, had the ability to go from four cylinders to just a pair as the need required.

OK. So what else has Ford done to the ST?

Some very good things. There's Torque Vectoring Control, for a start. Drive Modes, seen on the Focus RS, are brought into play on a hot Fiesta for the first time, too. Configurable through Normal, Sport and Track settings, these adjust the steering, engine and stability control accordingly. Oh, and the ESE.

The what now?

Ah. You, er... you might not like this bit so much. The ESE is the Electronic Sound Enhancement.

Oh no...

Oh yes. The three-cylinder motor's soundtrack can be enhanced or quietened as the mood takes you, although we're surprised a potent three-cylinder like this needs any augmentation at all. Usually, sound symposers - or whatever they're called these days - are employed on turbocharged four-cylinder petrol units, which can sound a bit dull otherwise. But triples are inherently pretty tuneful, so... well, we'll reserve judgment for now.

Can we just touch upon the aesthetics?

Lovely looking thing, isn't it? And those alloys - serious levels of want. They're 18-inch items and we reckon they're utterly gorgeous. There's a subtle but distinctive reshaping of the Fiesta's lower body, a tasteful roof spoiler is fitted, the front grille bears a hexagon pattern and there are twin-exit exhausts at the back. A new colour will be offered, which is the Liquid Blue you can see in the images, while Ford says this model will have more personalisation options than before.

These carry into the interior, where customers can choose from a range of trim elements for the gear lever, steering wheel, door pulls and the 'decorative dashboard spear', whatever that is. There's the much better SYNC 3 infotainment on an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support and the option of a high-powered Bang & Olufsen Play sound system if you want to drown out the fake warblings of the ESE. Our eyes are more drawn towards the flat-bottomed steering wheel and the fabulous Recaro seats. Honestly, we really cannot wait to try this thing.

OK, so what else have you got for me?

Can't wait for Geneva or first drives later in the year? Then watch this action-packed video of the ST in action, in a promotional film from Ford.

Matt Robinson - 24 Feb 2017

Earlier articles featuring 2017 Ford Fiesta

2016-11-30: All-new Ford Fiesta range unveiled

2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.

2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.    - Ford road tests
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