If you’re looking for reasons why, despite a headline power figure that’s 20bhp shy of its nearest rivals’, the Fiesta’s claimed 0-62mph time is only 0.2sec and 0.1sec shy of the Clio 200 Turbo and 208 GTI respectively, we’ll let you into a secret. It’s not actually that shy on power at all.
The thing is that the Fiesta can run on overboost to 197bhp (and the ST200 produces 212bhp) – which is why it’s marketed as having that much in the US. Over here, Ford isn’t allowed to advertise this ‘temporary’ output as the headline number (although if you find somewhere on the road to stay on full throttle for longer than the 15 seconds that it lasts, you’re luckier than us).
Any rate, at our test track, we recorded a one-direction 0-60mph sprint of 6.9sec with two people aboard and a 7.0sec average over two runs. Never did it feel anything less than the measure of its immediate competitors out on the road, either.
Besides all that is the simple fact that the Ford Fiesta ST and those cars around it feel just the ‘right’ sort of quick. It’s rapid enough to give a reassuring thud in your back as you accelerate, but not so fast that you run out of appropriate speed sharpish or, on the track, run out of front tyre.
The Fiesta is pretty much spot on in its performance. So, too, is its even, steady power delivery, backed aurally by a sound symposer. There is very little evidence of turbo lag – just a smooth, even, linear amount of power, as you’d expect from a car that has a moderate specific output and revs to only 6500rpm.
That engine drives the front wheels through one of the better manual gearboxes around. There’s only the merest hint of baulk or bump between ratios on the slick six-speeder.