The Mk7 Fiesta ST was a fantastic car. No doubt it will forever be remembered as one of Ford’s finest, and when tuners like Revo go their hands on the Mk7 ST its tuning potential was immediately obvious. Fast forward just a few short years and we frequently see STs with well over 300bhp, many doubling the standard car’s power output. This insatiable appetite for tuning (which isn’t over yet by the way, as new developments and upgrades are still finding their way to market), especially with companies like Revo behind the wheel (or laptop, in this case!) has meant the Fiesta ST has been heaped with praise and admiration. In keeping with the theme of this issue, you could say it’s a fast Ford legend in the making, if you will.
So, shall we all mourn the loss of a future legend then? Well, no. Not really. Because its replacement, then Mk8 ST, is even better! Despite being a hundred cc smaller and losing a cylinder, the more modern Mk8 ST is hands-down a better car than its predecessor. And given the gushy intro, you’ll know how fond of the Mk7 we are. So, it must be good.
And if the standard car is already in a stronger position, what will the tuners make of it? I’ve already driven a couple of Stage 1 tuned examples of the Mk8 ST, and I was incredibly impressed with both of them. But there’s one name that’s synonymous with fast Fiestas in Ford-tuning circles – Revo – so I was mega excited to see what their Stage 1 demo car had to offer.
On paper, the spec already looks impressive. Power is up from the stock 200PS and 214lb.ft to a very healthy 252PS and whopping 266lb.ft. That’s Stage 2 levels of tune on a Mk7 ST. But with the Mk8, Revo have achieved those impressive numbers with software alone.
So, what does the ST feel like with a 25% shot-in-the-arm? In short, bloody brilliant! As you’d expect, that extra 50bhp is immediately apparent. From the second you touch the throttle you can tell this thing has been played with. The throttle response is much snappier, the Milltek exhaust fitted to this car is louder and more aggressive in its tone, and the whole car just feels more boisterous than before. Stand on the loud pedal and the ST pins you back into those rather gorgeous Recaros while it sets off up the road in a fit of anger; dashboard flashing at you when it’s time to shift up, and a barrage of cracks and burbles from the exhaust rewarding your eardrums when you do so. And then, on this particular car, things are just as impressive when you rein it all back in again too – the massive 332mm discs and 4-pot calipers comprising Revo’s big brake kit hauling you back down to a stop in a seemingly impossibly short distance. It’s a complete assault on the sense, this car.
But it doesn’t have to be. You have to treat like an energetic little puppy; play rough and it will bark at you and nip you with its needle-sharp teeth all over. Yet, be calm and relaxed behind the wheel and even the Revo-tuned ST can be as obedient as your faithful friend. Pottering around town and following traffic on the A-roads around Hertfordshire, it behaves very sensibly and comfortably, civilised enough for everyday duties without drama. It even stops burbling and barking at you if you take it out of Sport mode. But you know that at any given point, you can turn off this A-road and onto one the twisty little back lanes and really open the taps. So, I shall…
Now you can really feel the benefit of all that extra torque; it has bucket loads of grunt to get you going from the slow-speed tight corners. And thanks to this car having the optional Performance Pack and therefore a proper Quaife ATB fitted, none of that oomph is wasted. Instead, the tyres continue to search out grip, sling-shotting you off in search of the next corner. And thanks to the impressive brakes (I really can’t stress enough how much of a difference they make to the driving experience) you can enjoy taking the 1.5-litre EcoBoost all the way round to its 6500rpm rev limit before standing on the stoppers.
On the subject of revs, I have to point out that from the different examples of tuned and standard STs I’ve driven, the Mk8’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder does seem much happier to rev harder than the previous four-pot 1.6. I don’t know if that’s just down to the modern software (both standard or tuned), or the physical design of the 1.5-litre engine itself, but either way it makes the Mk8 feel much punchier and more alive than its predecessor. And if Revo’s Stage 1 upgrade is serving up these kinds of levels of performance, what will the next round of upgrades offer? Well, we might not need to wait too long to find out, as Revo had said they are already working on development of their Performance Pack, which will include an intercooler upgrade, intercooler pipes, intake kit, and possible an exhaust system too. Oh, and the next level of software to make full use of it all too.
If you were sad that the Mk7 Fiesta ST is no more, cry no longer. The Fiesta tuning game is just getting started…
Revo Stage 1 software (252PS/266lb.ft) – £478.80
Revo High-flow panel filter – £58.8
Revo rear torque mount – £120
Revo BBK – £1976.40
Revo RV018 (18x7in 4×108) – £1140