We know that the new Ford Fiesta ST is good. The pertinent question to address here is: exactly how good is it?
Has Ford promoted its hot Fiesta to a status worthy of as many superlatives as cars such as the original Focus RS and the Puma Racing? Has it eclipsed every prevailing dynamic standard of a dynasty of Renaultsport Clios?
Is it possible that Ford has done all that and still left room for a Fiesta RS? Nothing provides illuminating answers quite like a comprehensive Autocar road test.
Ford's hot-hatch recipe certainly looks to have a lot of the right ingredients. Under the Fiesta's bonnet sits a turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, which drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox.
Satisfyingly, the box-ticking doesn't end there. The Fiesta ST also receives upgraded suspension and steering, a torque vectoring system that emulates a limited-slip differential, a three-stage traction control system and myriad cosmetic tweaks.
Two very exciting and very commendable hot hatchbacks – the Peugeot 208 GTI and Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo – already sit subordinate to this fast Ford after our group test. That test was carried out on the country roads of south Wales, mind you – roads that this Ford three-door lit up with consummate ease.
If this new Ford Fiesta ST emerges with as much unequivocal credit after our full complement of tests – not to mention a whole lot more road driving and much debate – the Blue Oval could have a cult smash hit on its hands.