The Mk7 Fiesta ST has been at the top of the hot hatch tree for a few years, and with tuning specialists like Revo continuing to develop performance upgrades for the feisty little Fiesta, it’s going to take something very special to get anywhere near touching its crown. First off we had the simple Stage 1 upgrades that saw power increased to around 215-220bhp. These give the ST a good poke up the backside and only require a simple air filter upgrade to accompany the revised software – many say this is how the ST should have been from the factory, and we are inclined to agree.
Following shortly behind were the Stage 2 upgrades, which offer a further 15-20bhp gain when coupled with free-flowing exhaust system and uprated intercooler.
But now we have a real step up in power – to 300bhp! – thanks to turbocharger upgrades added to the list! And Revo’s Stage 3 package is one of the most popular, so it was about time we got behind the wheel to see what the fuss is about.
The Stage 3 package upgrade uses one of Revo’s own hybrid turbochargers. Featuring a larger billet compressor wheel, enlarged compressor housing, and a revised outlet, the hybrid turbocharger is a direct replacement for the original unit, and the key to the Stage 3’s huge power and torque increases! The kit also requires the use of a full turbo-back exhaust system (including sports cat or de-cat), an uprated intercooler, and a high-flow air intake system.
The result is quite astonishing! I’ve driven quite a few different STs, but none have been quite like this – it’s an animal! And it takes a bit of getting used to – you certainly can’t get out of a standard 1.0-litre Fiesta and jump straight into this and expect to drive it in the same way (like we did!) – do that and it will literally throw you into a ditch! You need to be a little more respectful of the sheer power under your control, stand on throttle too aggressively and it will let you know about it – usually with armfuls of lock trying to fight the wheelspin and torque steer!
But, impressively for a car with so much more oomph than standard, the Revo Stage 3 ST actually drives surprising nicely when you’re not provoking it. On our drive from Revo HQ to Bruntingthorpe we took in a mixture of dual carriageways and country back-lanes, and if you drive it sensibly the car behaves surprisingly sedately. There’s no odd whistles, blows, or bangs. The clutch is light enough for everyday use. The engine is nice and smooth when pulling away from junctions, it idles perfectly, and so on. The only slightly hairy moment was when I decided to plant my right foot a bit too suddenly for the damp road conditions! But after I’d gathered it all up I decided to save my aggression for the relative safety of the wide-open spaces and two-mile runway at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, where I could really open the taps.
And once there, boy did I do just that! The final glance down at the speedo saw the little red needle clocking well over 150mph before I lifted and started to brake from the corner at the end of the runway. Apparently, the guys at Revo say this thing will easily go off the 160mph clocks, and I quite believe them – I wasn’t particularly trying for a top speed run and 150mph just sort of happened!
Putting this much power through the front wheels does require somewhat of a delicate touch when pressing on through the corners, however. Unlike the 4×4 Focus RS (where you can just plant the throttle mid corner safe in the knowledge the car will find grip and just fire you out the other side), or the rear-drive Mustang (where you can give it a dollop of power on entry and then catch rear end as it wants to overtake you) the front drive Fiesta does require a fair bit more precision through the bends to get a fast lap time. But get it right and the ST can be mightily fast, even if less forgiving than 4×4 or rear-drive platforms with similar power levels.
The best thing about the Stage 3 ST, however, is the fact it begs to be driven hard. People say the old RS Turbos encouraged spirited driving, but this thing is on a whole new level! It’ll bring out the hooligan in even the most sensible of drivers. And therein is the only problem with the Stage 3 upgrade, it’s almost too aggressive for everyday road use. It’s a cliché, but this really is a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ car – fine for driving nicely to a race track where you can let Mr. Hyde out of his box before Dr. Jekyll drives you home again, but if Mr. Hyde makes an appearance when on the public highway things could get very scary, very quickly!
Don’t get me wrong the Stage 3 upgrade is awesome (just look at my stupid grin!) but I can’t help but think it’s maybe, just maybe, a bit too much for an everyday road car. It’s ferocious, and they only way to really enjoy all the Stage 3 ST has to offer is on a racetrack. So, my advice would be the Stage 3 is probably best reserved for those who will enjoy its benefits on a trackday, whereas those who purely use their ST on the road may be better off sticking to the Stage 2 upgrades. But, of course, you’re not going to listen to me – especially not if you’ve ever been out on a Stage 3 car and experienced its fury for yourself, the nagging voice in you head screaming “I need this power in my life!” simply wouldn’t let you stick with a Stage 2 setup…
Revo Stage 3 turbo upgrade, Revo air intake system, Pro Alloy front mount intercooler, Milltek turbo-back exhaust system with 100-cell sports cat, Revo 332mm/4- pot big brake conversion, ST XTA coilovers, Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 7x17in alloys.