What is it?
Ford’s fab small hot hatchback has been given no more power in this limited-run Fiesta ST Performance Edition, but there are suspension tweaks and, oh my, is it ever orange.
There’ll only be 600 of these UK-specific versions of the ST, which are all based on the ST-3 specification, though they have the otherwise-optional Performance Pack thrown in as standard too. That means you get the limited-slip differential, which is the important bit from that pack.
The Performance Edition, then, takes the ST-3 with Performance Pack (keep up) and adds flow-formed 18in alloy wheels which are said to be 7kg lighter, throws on standard orange paint and, most significantly, replaces the standard springs and dampers with a new set of adjustable coilovers that drop the front and rear ride height by 10mm and 15mm respectively. The powertrain is left alone; a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol making 197bhp and driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox, with no auto option.
At £26,495, the Performance Edition adds £3120 to a regular ST-3 with Performance Pack.
What's it like?
That price increase is rather a lot on a car that’s quite brilliant even if you’ve only spent £22,000 on it.
But the new suspension does make a difference. Ford says it has been developed at the Nürburgring – sigh, where else? – but our tests around some of the crummier and empty roads in the West Midlands are a more realistic alternative.
And it’s good. I mean, really good. One of the few things that people grumble about Fiesta STs is the comfort, or lack thereof, but I think the Performance Edition is both more comfortable and better tied-down. There are 12 bump and 16 rebound settings and our test car was set somewhere in the middle of both, and body control was superb and the ride firm-but-controlled, in that Ford way it manages so well.