Fast Ford’s Fiesta Zetec S Update (311)
Last November we treated the Mk7 to some new rims and rubber – here’s what happened.
We’ve done a fair bit to the little Mk7 now, but so far it’s all been performance enhancements that nobody can see. From the outside it still looked like a standard model. So to beef things up a bit the obvious starting point was to change the stock wheels for something a bit more stylish.
As we all know rim choice can make or break a car. It may be the best thing in the world, but bolt on the wrong wheels and it will just look hideous. To ensure we chose well we all sat down and had a quick look through what wheels were available for the Mk7 Fiesta and decided on what we thought would look best.
There was a resounding ‘winner’ from our selection with all our votes falling in favour of the Speedline Corse. Its subtle-yet-stylish multispoke design means the car no longer looks like a factory example, but it’s not something that is so garish it looks quite obviously ‘aftermarket’.
To the untrained eye the Speedlines look like they could well be a standard OEM wheel, which was exactly the understated look we were aiming for. Plus the Speedlines are considerably lighter than the chunky standard alloys too, all of which helps reduce weight and improve performance. Billy bonus!
Before we could get them fitted and see what they would actually look like on the car we needed to get them wrapped in some rubber. And as the Mk7 is used everyday to cart us and all our gear all across the country to shows, events, and photoshoots, we needed a set of tyres that would offer great performance in both wet and dry conditions, and wouldn’t wear out after a few hundred miles.
While we’d love the unrivalled grip and dry weather performance a semi-slick trackday tyre would offer, they wouldn’t be much fun in the wintery weather, and we couldn’t justify to the suits why we needed a new set every month (it gets used quite hard, quite frequently). The answer was a set of Pirelli P Zeros. We’ve heard nothing but good things from all those who have tried them, so naturally we wanted to find out for ourselves what all the fuss was about.
So with a boot full of wheels and tyres we trundled off to the workshop and employed the help of Matt the mechanic to fit the new tyres to the rims before bolting everything onto the car. With the new wheels and tyres fitted it was easy to see that we’d made the right choice. They sit well in the arches (especially after the car has been lowered) and compliment the Fiesta’s design. They look much tougher than the standard wheels but are subtle and sleek enough to look like they could have been fitted as a factory optional extra.
The rubber performs admirably too. With the traditional British summer throwing a mixture of wet, slippery roads one day, and bone-dry grippy Tarmac the next it’s fair to say that we’ve already given the tyres quite a thorough test, and they have passed it with flying colours. In the dry they grip well and inspire confidence through the corners, but the improvement over the tyres previously fitted is really notable on wet roads.
Whereas before the car would understeer and feel quite nervous if you pushed hard, with the P Zeros fitted the boundary at which that starts to happen has been pushed up a notch, and you can push much harder before the grip lets go. They say that the right tyre choice can make a massive difference between going fast or slow, and at the risk of sounding like a disgruntled racing driver, the saying is actually quite true.
We’ll keep you up to speed with how the wheels and tyres are behaving when we get some miles under our belt and try them out in yet more conditions, but until then we’re hoping to get some cosmetic tweaks done to the Mk7 to make it stand out from the rest – but more on that next time…
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on Sunday, June 10th, 2012 at 11:36 am under Fast Ford Projects, Fiesta.
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Tags: Fiesta, Mk7, Zetec S