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Ford's Fiesta ST 200 is built for car enthusiasts

2017-08-04 07:00

Image: Warren Wilson

Sean Parker and Rouel van Nelson

Cape Town - With the next generation Ford Fiesta arriving in South Africa in 2018, Ford announced that 160 'ST 200' models of the current diminutive hot hatch had been secured for avid fans. 

Think of the ST 200 as a swansong to one of the best hot hatches locally. 

Sean Parker delves into what makes it special. 

Does it look any different? 

Affirmative. It's wrapped in an awesome stealth grey hue that is bespoke to this model. There are 'ST 200' badges festooned on the rear and at the bottom of the centre console. 

There are also matt black 17" five-spoke alloy wheels and LED tail lights. 

Does it have more power?

Yep, that 200 nomenclature isn't the number of cars produced, it's the PS power figure from its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine which translates into 147kW. Torque is pegged at 290Nm. But the increased power and torque is only available on overboost for 20 seconds at 320Nm. 

Ford claims a 0 to 100km/h sprint time of 6.7 seconds, it's been electronically restrained to 230km/h.

Gallery: Click/Scroll on the arrow for more images 

What's different on the ST 200?

Ford has upgraded the suspension, which includes a rear twistbeam with 27% more roll stiffness, an increase in diameter from 19mm to 21mm for the front anti-roll bar and new damper specifications for better impact absorption.

Ford says they've improved the Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) to aid cornering feedback and control. But frankly, it didn't feel markedly different to the standard version.

What's it like to drive? 

In a word, brilliant. The ST's low centre of gravity, strong engine, slick 'box and small steering wheel add up to produce a brilliant experience that is difficult to match. 

The overboost function has a tangible effect that catapults the diminutive hatch forward with decent thrust. The cabin is filled with a delicious throaty noise (via the sound symposer) as the turbo whistles like a confident tweeting Donald Trump. 

Even with the ESC turned off the front wheels stick to the asphalt akin to Spiderman's web on a skyscraper. 

A stiffer rear twistbeam generates a more planted feel that gave me confidence - similar to what I feel after posting a great meme.

The heated Recaro seats gripped my large frame although I did feel as if I was sitting on top of the car and a lower seating position would be more ideal. 

It definitely has the hallmarks of becoming a future classic. Also, did I mention it's manual, oh I love manual gearboxes. Sure they'll eventually die off but this car won't. So purchase one. There are still a few available. 

Price: R339 900 

Wheels24 team: 

Janine Van der Post: When I first saw the ST200, I wasn't particularly impressed, mostly because of it's stealth grey body colour. A sporty little beast like this should be 'boisterous black','candy-apple red' or a brilliant sporty blue. I have somewhat fallen out of love with the shape and styling of the latest generation Fiesta.

However, Ford could do with fine-tuning the seating position but once I hit the start button, all resistance crumbled hearing its growl coming from the exhaust. Driving it is just a bucket of fun. It's an exhilarating drive, with agile handling thanks to its stiff suspension setup. 

Rouel van Nelson:  Getting into the ST200 instills a feeling of 'a drivers car' before you've even pushed the start button. The steering wheel is close and the bucket seat gave me a sports car atmosphere.

Driving it was even better and exceeded what I expected from it. I was anticipating just a Fiesta with a slight boost of power but the swift, short-shifting from first, second and onto third was thrilling to say the least. In a nutshell, its agility is addictive, its power intoxicating and its quickness absolutely exciting. The power is instantly felt and ready at your finger tips. For the driving enthusiast, it's fantastic.

*Ford South Africa confirmed to Wheels24 that the ST200 is not subject to the recall of certain ST models. 

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