Collins Performance has given the Fiesta ST 270bhp and 265lb ft, but has our favourite fast Ford been ruined in the process?

What is it?

It's a chance for fans of the superb Ford Fiesta ST either to wince and shake their heads or sit up straight and take notice, depending on how they like their hot hatches.

We did the latter when Mountune announced it was hiking the ST's power from 180bhp to 212bhp back in 2013, and the results were good. For 2015, Collins Performance has somewhat raised the bar. You see, its ST, in this state, produces 270bhp and 265lb ft.

This actually represents the third and final tier of CP's ST upgrade packages. A new Mongoose exhaust, Airtec intercooler, ITG induction system, CPE turbocharger and revised ECU mapping are your rewards for choosing to laugh in the face of tiers one and two.

The cost for going this big? A full £2965, including fitting and a discount if you let CP keep your old turbo. Our car was also fitted with the firm's Dynamic Chassis upgrade, which swaps the ST's standard front wishbone and rear beam bushes for stiffer ones, and costs a further £440. 

This sort of power from a 1.6 petrol is nothing new - see Peugeot's RCZ R - but that's a car that relies heavily on its limited-slip differential. So how does a similarly potent but slippy diff-less Fiesta ST get on? 

What's it like?

Noticeably more aggressive from the moment you press the Collins Performance-branded starter button and fire it into life. Our car's burbling single-box exhaust can be swapped for a quieter twin-box item for no extra cost, but if standing out is your thing, we'd keep things as they are here.

Pulling away reveals two things. Firstly, CP hasn't messed with the gearbox, which is a very good thing: it's as slick and positive as ever. Secondly, and less appealing, is the amount of vibration sent through the cabin by the exhaust as the car pulls itself out of low revs.

Around town, it's a matter of persevering with them, but once the road opens you'll likely forget them. Flooring the throttle is followed by a second or two of the new turbo whistling to life before the front wheels and traction control begin some serious negotiation.

However, the visions of a tyre-smoking, torque-steering, leafy accident - in that order - never become reality. In gear, power and torque delivery is progressive enough to ensure that traction eventually wins the day, the steering wheel doesn't squirm uncontrollably in your hands and performance is hold-on-tight impressive.

Some of the figures we experienced tell the story. Our CP Fiesta was 1.4sec quicker from 30-50mph and 1.8sec quicker 50-70mph in fifth gear than the standard ST, and with its traction control switched off (and some careful clutch control) we managed to fire it from 0-60mph in 5.9sec - a second quicker than standard. An entry-level Porsche Boxster is just a tenth quicker.

Of course, just like the  standard ST, stamping on the power too early mid-corner causes the front wheels to run wide, only more dramatically so. But this is just as easily remedied by lifting off, listening the turbocharger exhale with a hiss, feeling the back wheels inch out and tucking the front wheels back on course.

Collins Performance found that the CP3 pack made the ST's standard chassis snappier at the rear than usual, but if anything, we think the front end has lost just a hint of its urgency with the Dynamic Chassis upgrade's stiffer bushes.

Back to top

We're talking minute differences, though, and without trying both back-to-back it's hard to judge whether spending the extra on it is necessary. Ultimately, it'll make little difference on the road, and even if you were slightly slower cornering on track, you'll be having just as much fun, and more than make up the for lost split seconds by barrelling down the straights more quickly. 

The CP3 pack can be fitted to any grade of ST, but our car was an ST3 model, so came with everything the standard car does - most notably the superbly supportive Recaro front seats and sat-nav. The branded starter button, boot lid sticker and engine cover branding are standard, but thankfully the side stripes and exterior branding aren't - they're another £120. 

Should I buy one?

If you value your Ford warranty, probably not - at least not until it runs out. Collins Performance packages aren't recognised officially by Ford, but CP will sell you a third-party warranty if you can't wait until the end of your agreement.

To keep costs down, CP will sell the upgrades as standalone parts for you to fit yourself. Either way, it's a far pricier prospect than Mountune's MP 215 upgrade, but it's a just one given its more advanced mechanicals and subsequent performance figures. 

We still think the Fiesta ST is best in its, purest, standard state, but if your ST is nearing its third birthday (as many are) and you're in the market for more performance, this is an expensive but usable and genuinely entertaining way to spice things up. 

Ford Fiesta ST-3 CP3 Performance Pack

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £22,360 (£2965 for the pack, fitted) Engine 4 cyls in line, 1596cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 270bhp at 6250rpm; Torque 265lb ft at 3400rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight naTop speed na0-60mph 5.9sec (tested); Economy na; CO2/tax band na

Join the debate

Add a comment…
jason_recliner 26 March 2015

Power Understeer Ahoy!

This sounds like a lot of fun.
Peter Cavellini 26 March 2015

Ho hum........

Another Fastford effort,not quite the real deal,a small bit of refining still to do.
Peter Cavellini 26 March 2015

Ho hum........

Another Fastford effort,not quite the real deal,a small bit of refining still to do.