Jason’s been out driving the latest fast Fiesta, and he’s ready to give us his verdict…
Words and photos Jason Dodd
Despite 2020 being a year to forget, at the back-end of last year Ford did give us some good news: the arrival of a limited-edition Fiesta ST.
‘Ah, but they already do a limited edition,’ you might be thinking, but this new, blue Edition model picks up where the previous, orange Performance Edition left off. Along with a change of colour, numbers are strictly limited – with just 300 coming to the UK.
Not to be confused with the Nitrous Blue on the Mk3 Focus RS, the ST Edition is finished in an exclusive Azura Blue, with the same 18in gloss black lightweight flow-formed alloys from the Performance Edition (saving an impressive 7kg each over the stock ST alloys). This ST looks mean and ready for the track – or in our case, some Kent B-roads.
As with the Focus RS Edition models, the ST Edition benefits from a Quaife ATB limited-slip differential, the Performance Pack upgrades, and lashings of carbon-fibre trim as standard. Crucially, it also gets the same adjustable coilover suspension as the Performance Edition, dropping the ride height by 15mm at the front and 10mm at the rear. Meanwhile, the engine is the same 1.5-litre EcoBoost as the rest of the ST line-up, developing 197bhp and 214lb.ft of torque.
Priced at £27,075, the Edition is a chunk more expensive than the base ST-3 model (starting at £24,575), but for that you do get all the bells and whistles, and perhaps more importantly for many buyers, the exclusivity of just 300 UK cars. But, what’s it like to drive?
Thanks to that clever suspension, it feels perfectly poised on a twisty B-road as I set up for a journey from Haynes in Maidstone (which loaned me the car for the day), back to Canterbury for some static photos.
There are 12 bump and 16 rebound settings. You can reach the tops of the front struts by lifting the bonnet, but you’ll have to go under the car and/or take the wheels off to get at the rest; it seems a bit of hassle, but I imagine if you do the odd track day it would be worth getting it set up to suit – you’ll just need access to a ramp (or maybe ask your friendly Ford dealer).
Once you play around with the suspension settings, you’ll have a cracking car that, on a short and twisty circuit, very few cars will be able to keep up with.
For me, the sweet spot of a hot hatch has always been around the 200-to-250 bhp mark; it’s realistically all the power you’ll ever need, and it means you can really get hold of the car by the scruff of the neck and throw it about, rather than having to be gentle with the throttle for fear of it dumping you in the nearest ditch at a moment’s notice. The Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres definitely help here too, even on a cold winter day when the temperature didn’t get above five degrees.
The overall balance and ride of the Edition is sublime; the steering is direct, and precision is the key to this car’s USP. I can only imagine that on a track it will be real hoot.
So, the last question: is the Edition worth the extra £2500 over the regular ST-3?
For everyday duties, probably not – the ST-3 delivers all you’ll ever need; it has the Performance Pack with all the goodies that comes with it, has the same excellent chassis, and is a deserved multi-award-winning car.
But, for the die-hard enthusiast who wants to exploit the ST’s on-track abilities, the coilovers and wheels come into their own – they are available from Ford Performance to fit to any Mk8 ST, but together cost more than the extra £2500.
Then you need to factor in the signature colour and the exclusivity of the Edition. Do that and it quickly becomes apparent that the answer is yes, it is worth the extra cash.
The only fear I do have is that the limited build numbers and higher price tag will attract collectors who will wrap the cars up and sit on them for a future pay day. These cars aren’t built to sit in heated garages, they are best enjoyed at full throttle rattling through some B-roads or chasing more expensive exotica on track days.
If I was one of the lucky 300, my ST Edition would be getting used as often as I could.