First drive: 2018 Ford Fiesta ST

The Ford Fiesta ST was almost untouchable as an affordable car for the driver, and the new is now only months.

The 2018 version is a different animal from its predecessor, although, with the older four-cylinder engine is replaced with a three-pot. Since the news came, it questions about. whether the lost cylinder damage would cause, the Fiesta ST is the status as the world’s best compact hot hatch But we don’t have any hard evidence – until now.

Leo Roeks, the European Director of the Ford performance car division, is the new Fiesta ST, and pointing to things. They are all new and interesting things; suspension things, chassis things, the powertrain, things, steering things, and other things. And he points to you for about ten minutes now without waving his finger pointing somewhere in the vicinity of the three-cylinder engine moving under the hood.

The engine has up to now pretty much the only significant mechanical Element, which we had expected to be really “new” to this car.

Opinion: is a three-pot do the work for the new Ford Fiesta ST?

But Ford s-cards were always very close to his chest, as it turns out, because his PR Department clearly understands how best to string out a dramatic narrative, if it presents the most copy-worthy new model. Perhaps another reason is that Ford was to blame in over-his last major introduction, the current Focus RS ahead of playing, during the lengthy preparations for the Start.

Whatever Ford is the motivation for the initial secrecy, it is gradually becoming clear that the way to improve dynamically a car, some would have said, needs a lot of improvement has not been adopted. This is obviously a lot more than just a last-Fiesta ST with some new plates and cylinders lopped off.

Starting at the rear of the car, Roeks incentive in the new torsion-beam rear suspension (the stiffest equipped to equipped to any Ford production car, made of 7mm guage steel), but then draws attention to the new double-valve ‘selective’ dampers, on either side of her, and then, the innovative force vectoring ‘ is bent, rear suspension springs just outboard of them.

“We are very proud of this,” he says. To push “when the lateral load starts to act on the rear suspension, effectively steering the car from the rear wheels, these springs are smart enough to start back. They help stabilize the rear wheels. It is not enough of a difference that we use a measurable for the steering precise, but also be able to afford to ease out of the car, mounting on the rear bushings for better ride comfort.”

Clever stuff if it works as good as he says it, and provided there is a reliable solution.

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Then, forward we move. Our man signs mounted on structural brackets under the floor of the car body-in-white -who, between them, to increase the rigidity of the chassis by about 15 percent.

Steering gear: it is built-in the fastest ever by a front-driven Ford, at a ratio of 12:1 and with just two turns between locks – “but the transmission is repaired, and your response rate is linear,” says Roeks. Ford is experimenting with variable ratio steering (quicker off-center than on it) and even fit it to the last generation of the Focus ST, but Leo says it has now concluded “a change in the speed of the reaction, tires the driver very quickly.”

He adds: “you probably wouldn’t notice it at the time, but a fixed-rate steering is so much more natural and intuitive to use that it is much easier. You need to never have to guess the second.”

Outboard of the steering box, the new Fiesta ST has a front axle track is 10mm wider than the standard Fiesta and 48mm wider than the old cars.

It has special hubs for the first time, has enabled it to Ford the car’s low ground clearance without lowering the front roll centre height more than you. And, you guessed it, there is a helical limited-slip differential available for the car. It is a Quaife-component, and it will not be standard – but it does not mean that the car is stuck with a open diff in a hot supermini to fight, to the increasing number of fighters are now armed with true mechanical LSDs.

And what of the engine? Exchange of four-cylinder three, the Fiesta ST engine has only about 100cc of displacement is lost. Its peak power and torque outputs (197bhp, 236lb ft of torque in overboost) are exactly as they were, while the Motor has reduced the weight slightly.

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The new ST is two-tenths of a second faster accelerating to 62mph than the old ST200 was, without a doubt, helped, limited slip diff, launch control system and a rather sticky set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (Pilot sports 4 rubber was planned for the car originally, but do not produce the level of grip-Ford’s development team wanted to).

But the great advantage brought with this new engine on efficiency and emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions tumble from 138 G/km to only 114. And a part of the reinforcement, a is a sophisticated cylinder shutdown system, the power of only the automotive industry-Motor in the production to switch from three-cylinder operation to two– under light load.

Introduction is over, it’s time to get a feel for the dynamic improvements of the Fiesta ST with a few laps on the infamous “Track 7” handling track at its Lommel proving ground, is located approximately two-thirds of the way along the Belgian North border with the Netherlands. The camera shake is of course exactly the right kind of place to proven to tease a near-perfect adjustable handling balance of a front-driven performance car – as the story has, on more than one occasion.

David Put, driving dynamics specialists from Ford Performance and Blue Oval lifer, is now our guide for the car. He enthusiastically chatted away while nipping to attract the nose of the car neat and smooth in different, plunge apex. He uses the car Gas and brake will always be so delicate juggling his mass between its front and rear axles, whereby the smooth diff deserve to keep her, as he finishes each curve, but also cueing up the current films, as little or as much attitude as he is running around, fast and clean up is doing you just as easily.

The last time I saw him with so much fun around these just the corners was two-and-a-bit years in a four-wheel-drive Focus RS prototype. It would certainly seem that he has managed to preserve every bit of the last Fiesta ST is remarkable, playful handling with poise – that was the second, absolutely no other car of the same’, in this tester’s experience.

What else is obvious, from this side of the cockpit? Driving a car seems to be very much softer and calmer than it was – and it is intentionally so.

“We know how company-was on the last ST, and we have loved it”, he says, “but we wanted a more rounded, smooth melody for this one. To create the last time, we focused directly on the cushioning most of the car’s sporty character; this time, we have leaned more on the steering and rear axle response. Sometimes I think it is too soft, but most of the time I am really happy with it. And it works great on the street.”

Is equally interesting is what Ford’s hot hatchback makes a much better balanced than that of their competitors – and there’s really no voodoo involved. “We are pretty much the only manufacturer to run the ready, with fixed settings on the rear axle than the front,” he says.

“It is a rig that we use to assess and measure competitors ‘ cars, and all of them are on firmer front axle than the rear, making a bit of roll under-steer. It is as if, like everywhere else, they are afraid of oversteer.”

“We like to work with him,” goes”, that is the reason why this car is firmer on the back than the front, and the current Focus RS is also. Because you can’t fully vote override; sooner or later, you have to confront it – and we use it to make it controllable. I also think, if you do not, you will end up with a really f*cking boring driver’s car.” Master of the understatement, the Belgians, isn’t it?

Nevertheless, it is definitely not what he has in this car. How to bury the gas pedal from the track, the last corner for another go-round”, the car engine humming his new three-pot song. It feels smooth: “It is a little slower to settle down from high speeds,” says, ” because of the heavier flywheel, but it is smooth.”

Reminds me a bit of the original Focus ST’s five-pot, but it is revvier.

And that’s it: I’m not going to guess, to the rest of the driving experience picture, because it would be wasted effort. Also, we only have to wait to drive up in this car to us. We were already a favorite to go to the office, a class-leading hot supermini; and according to this acquaintance, I would say we are opportunities.

Three become two: How to make a three-cylinder engine running on two

A hydraulically operated solenoid valve switches the induction and exhaust valves for the middle cylinder, three in the Ford, the new 1.5-litre Ecoboost Fiesta ST engine, if it runs between 1200 to 4500rpm and under a light load, effectively turning off.

The really clever bit, however, is what Ford has with the engine of the fueling and valve timing in the milliseconds immediately before and after the shutdown in order that you will not feel any roughness or interruption of the combustion.

Out of the car the passenger seat while I switched just about hear the difference in the combustion noise of the engine, I could not feel any difference.

The four-stroke cycle is interrupted that in the middle cylinder only after the combustion stroke, and the exhaust and intake valves are thus closed to exhaust hot case in the cylinder. This gas must be generated done pressure on the piston as it compresses and expands, and thus, very little additional work, of the two actuating cylinder, in order to compensate for, and no unwanted oil is drawn up into the cylinder.

Ford estimates the cylinder-deactivation technology is worth a 6 percent improvement in fuel efficiency on the new WLTP cycle, and will be fitting it to his 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine.

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