2018 Ford Fiesta ST200: Keep Yourself Alive

A fast Ford fan from birth meant that the Fiesta ST200’s arrival was always going to be a high point up on the top floor of MotorMartin Towers as was seeing the car in the flesh for the very first time. Looking at the ST200 from any angle confirms the intent with which Ford’s engineers and designers have bestowed upon their extremely rapid small family car. In fact, the Fiesta ST200 fulfils Ford’s desire to create a range of distinctively individual series design options, whatever your preference, meaning that there is a Ford Fiesta to suit everyone. And with the ST200, Ford have certainly made sure that both historic and new Fast Ford fans have been extremely well catered for.

The ST200 is a looker, of that there can be no doubt, with it’s unique Fiesta ST features include 18″ 5×2-spoke ST Magnetic machined- finish alloy wheels with red brake calipers, standard on ST-3 and exclusive ST bodystyling such as the unique, ultra aggressive black ST upper grille, different bumpers, muscular front and rear wheel arches and spoilers. Ford have pulled out all the stops to create a car that still has that essential Fiesta DNA that purchasers want and recognise yet improved and enhanced with seriously sporting additions, raucous twin exhaust and incredibly gorgeous rear diffuser anyone?

Just spend a few minutes looking over the clever details that define this latest ST. That immense front end with it’s instantly recognisable Ford Style and iconic ST badge, the ever so sleek, cleverly styled LED headlights with dynamic levelling and scrolling LED turn indicators and there’s also that incredible Ford Performance Blue body colour exclusive to the ST. This car has as much style as the classic fast Fords of yesteryear and will be just as celebrated far into the future.

Stepping over the Ford Performance ST Front door threshold plates to settle into the sumptuously sculptured Recaro leather sports seats gives you the feeling of being properly plugged into the Fiesta, that the Ford is part of you, ready to respond to any and all input in as direct a fashion as possible. It feels like a proper ST from the very first moment, as well it should. Reach forward to the unique, (and heated) ST flat bottomed steering wheel and revel in it’s quality and feel. You just know that there’s fun to be had with such a direct fusion between driver and front wheels.

Let us not rush forward toward the main event though, there’s plenty of time for that later, but take time to drink in the sumptuous details and technology that Ford have bequeathed their next generation hot hatch with. The silver/grey detailing on the sports seats blends beautifully with the blue detailing on the seat belts and steering wheel whilst the centre console also chips in with it’s own illuminated cupholders. Cupholders that also includes a space for your youthful 250ml can of Red Bull. Incredible.

Of course there’s Ford’s Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC) for comfort, cool looking rear privacy glass to look cool with and a rather incredible B&O premium audio system with 360° sound & 10 speakers, man it is loud and suits the ST perfectly. A dash dominated by the Ford SYNC 3 Navigation system with it’s 8″ Touchscreen allows you to maximise the Fiesta’s potential and set it up exactly how you want it to be with a desktop that is as simple to use as it is intuitive. There’s also Traffic Sign Recognition, Auto High Beam & Driver Alert, Rain sensing wipers, Ford KeyFree System with Keyless Entry & Keyless Start, Rear view camera with rear parking sensors and Heated front seats & heated steering wheel. There’s nothing left in the drawer marked ‘tech’ over at the Fiesta design department, that’s for sure.

The above is all well and good and more than enough reason to place a 2018 Fiesta ST200 on every driveway in Essex but we have not yet looked at the Ford’s raison d’être, the driving.

Ford have a long tradition of producing hot hatches based around their more family orientated architecture and have perfected tailoring the Fiesta to both the needs of the family and the needs of the one. And they’ve certainly gone and done it again with this one.

A decent boot, plenty of interior space front and back, family friendly tech and an abundance of driving aids all contribute to the everyday usability of the Ford, a car that is just as happy battling through town centre traffic as it is sitting at 70 for mile after mile on the motorway. What more could you want?

Squeezing 197.3bhp in to a car with a kerbweight of 1283kg is always going to make people sit up and take notice and rightly so, especially when the noise emitted from the sharp looking tailpipe is so evocative. A hot hatch should look and sound exciting even when standing still and the Fiesta is right on the money in this respect. A crackling and popping exhaust note accompanies the ST from the off and hints at the fun to come, raising your expectations the moment you sit down in the gorgeous sports seats and prepare to launch yourself at the countryside. Let’s not forget, this Ford delivers nigh on 200bhp and 214ft/lb torque, a 0-62 mph time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 144 mph, this is no ordinary Fiesta.

According to Ford: Selectable Drive Modes feature on the all-new Fiesta ST for the first time, enabling engine, steering and stability controls to be configured to Normal, Sport and Track settings, and shifting the vehicle’s character from flexible everyday hatchback to track-focussed sports car at the push of a button. Optional Launch Control also helps drivers achieve consistently fast standing starts on track, supported by a dedicated graphical display in the instrument cluster.

Fiesta ST’s first optional mechanical limited-slip differential (LSD) optimises cornering grip, and segment-first, Ford-patented force vectoring springs deliver sharper turn-in, better rear-end responsiveness and a more connected feel.

What this means for you and I is that most of the time the Fiesta gets left in Normal allowing for a relaxed drive to school, the shops and elsewhere but when fun is required, Sport is selected and the entire feel and personality of the ST200 is changed forever (or until you switch back to Normal, whichever comes first.) Put your foot down and the Ford pushes you back in the seat as the front wheels scrabble for grip before launching itself at the horizon. The feeling you get from the Fast Ford size horses under the hood, a form of bhp far superior to some other manufacturer’s efforts, is addictive in the extreme meaning that you’re constantly searching for the next opportunity to test the Fiesta’s poise, power and handling.

Keeping the ST in third and using the upper reaches of the rev range allow for, shall we say swift, progress to be made through the bends. This is a car that can happily slay the A and B roads of this green and pleasant land of ours with an addictive growl from the exhaust reverberating seductively throughout the cabin and beyond. Man it sounds absolutely superb when you give it some! And it’s not all show with the Fiesta as the clever mechanical limited-slip differential allows for maximum grip through the bends which when allied to the increased feel you get through the steering wheel, gives the driver a heightened sense of what the car’s front wheels are doing at all times.

What else do you need to know? The Steering is beautifully weighted and creates a connection with the car that increases in intensity every time you go for a drive. The Fiesta’s suspension allows for precise control in sport and yet in normal mode, the Ford’s stress free and comfortable just as a hot hatch should be.

On the road the ST200 delivers up to and beyond your expectations in a manner reminiscent of Fast Fords from days gone by, giving you a connection to the car, model and even brand that other manufacturer’s can only dream of. Perhaps it’s the devastating looks of the car, it’s unbelievably intense noise, the sporting additions to both styling and technology, infotainment and integration throughout the cabin or maybe, just maybe, good old fashioned driving fun. Price? The ST200 starts at £20,700 and performance per pound, that’s the bargain of the century.

Ford know how good their Fiesta ST200 is and they want you to experience it.

After all, a fast Ford fan is a fan for life.

Where will you go?

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