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Ford to offer limited-slip diff on new Fiesta ST. Image by Ford.

Ford to offer limited-slip diff on new Fiesta ST
Further chassis goodness for new Fiesta hot hatch includes force-vectoring rear springs and Launch Control.
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2018-05-15: First drive: Ford Fiesta Active

What's all this about?

We've got a few more juicy details on the forthcoming Ford Fiesta ST. About which we are tremendously excited, we don't mind telling you, as the old one was possibly one of the greatest hot hatchbacks of any size or power you could wish to encounter.

OK, so what's new here?

Well, not any data on the engine, which - as we've already reported on in the above-linked news story - is a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine with the ability to run on two pots when it needs to, in order to save fuel. It's augmented by a sound synthesiser (this little factoid, we're not so keen on...) and we know it'll make 200hp at 6,000rpm, with 290Nm from 1,600- to 4,000rpm. That's enough to see the Fiesta ST hit 144mph flat out (around 5mph up on the old Mountune-modified ST's top speed) and run 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds; two-tenths quicker than the outgoing car. Which brings us on to the new technology...

Does it?

Yes. Launch Control will be an option on the Fiesta ST for the first time, in which steering wheel-mounted buttons will allow drivers to choose the launch function. Opening the taps fully then sees the engine hold the perfect revs for a getaway, before all manner of electrical traction/stability/torque-vectoring software comes to the fore to keep the Ford tracking true as it rips away into the distance. And then we have the chassis.

Ooh, this sounds promising! What has Ford done here, given the old ST was so blinding?

There's a natty application of Ford-patented force-vectoring springs. These are non-uniform, non-interchangeable, directionally-wound springs fitted to the rear twist-beam suspension, that are cold-formed and specifically tuned for the Fiesta ST's handling. They allow huge lateral cornering forces to be absorbed by the springs themselves, helping to increase the car's lateral stiffness and supposedly massively improving the grip levels of the Ford.

Further benefits are sharper turn-in and response to steering inputs or directional changes, a total of 10kg of weight saving compared to the traditional Watt's linkage solution that would otherwise be employed to improve rear suspension stiffness, the ability to use the fancy springs with regulation dampers and apparently 'no compromises' in either comfort, ride quality (always the old ST's one obvious flaw) or refinement. The use of sophisticated RC1-valve dampers also ensures the Fiesta ST has a rear twist-beam roll stiffness of 1,400Nm/degree, the firmest of any Ford Performance model yet.

Wow, these sound like clever springs! Anything else on the handling front?

Indeed there is. This Fiesta ST will be the first to benefit from the option of having a Quaife mechanical limited-slip differential. Ford says it has fine-tuned the diff to work smoothly with the Torque Vectoring Control of the car, to make exiting a corner under full throttle feel more natural and less grabby. There's also a unique 12:1 calibration of the Fiesta's steering, which also benefits from a bespoke knuckle, and meaty 278mm vented front/253mm solid rear high-performance brake discs.

Any words from the team behind it?

Leo Roeks, European Ford Performance director, said: "Hot-hatch drivers are expecting big things from this small car. We've applied what we've learned from recent Ford Performance models, including the Focus RS and Ford GT, to develop an all-new Fiesta ST that sets a new standard for driving fun in its segment, with a throaty three-cylinder soundtrack that will speak to petrolheads whatever their language."

Matt Robinson - 13 Mar 2018

2018 Ford Fiesta ST March news. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Fiesta ST March news. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Fiesta ST March news. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Fiesta ST March news. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Fiesta ST March news. Image by Ford.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST March news. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Fiesta ST March news. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Fiesta ST March news. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Fiesta ST March news. Image by Ford.    - Ford road tests
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