18 October 2004

Ford’s forthcoming Fiesta ST is tantalisingly close – the first official Team RS product launches next month.

The hottest Fiesta yet will crack 60mph in 7.9secs and go on to a claimed 129mph. Ford’s 2.0-litre Duratec petrol engine, shoe-horned rearwards at six degrees into the Fiesta’s modest engine bay, serves up 150bhp and 140lb ft of torque.

Increased spring rates and recalibrated dampers have made the hot Fiesta 50 per cent stiffer at the front, and firmer at the rear, too. Its front wheels run more negative camber than standard, and its steering rack is also 10 per cent quicker, to the benefit of both grip and turn-in. It’s the first Fiesta ever with disc brakes on all four wheels. Combine that with an electronic stability program tuned to minimise intrusion, and it promises the fastest and finest-handling Fiesta for a long time – yours for an estimated £13,500. A five-door version is set to follow next year.

Ford’s more affordable sporting Fiestas, the 100bhp petrol and 90bhp diesel-powered 1.6-litre Zetec S twins, will also arrive before Christmas. ST-style makeovers and unique suspension settings will lend them much of their quicker siblings’ cachet, but for less cash – around £11k-12k.

Our Verdict

Caterham Seven

The Caterham Seven is a stripped-down sportscar offering one of the most pure driving experiences available. It is a true classic and available in nine iterations

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Our Verdict

Caterham Seven

The Caterham Seven is a stripped-down sportscar offering one of the most pure driving experiences available. It is a true classic and available in nine iterations

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week