Last month I took the Fiesta to Revo’s HQ for them to upload their Stage 1 software for the little 1.0-litre. While there we strapped the car on their in-house hub dyno, and the remapped Fiesta kicked out an impressive 138bhp at the wheels. That equates to around 160-165bhp at the flywheel, and has really transformed the way the car drives. But I’m not stopping there – this was just the beginning. You see, we’re putting together a mag feature to show exactly how much power can be extracted from the tiny EcoBoost motor, and we’ll walk you through the different stages of tune, complete with dyno graphs to back it all up at each step.
But before I could book the car for the next level Stage 2 software, I first took the car to Tarnock Garage to make a few hardware upgrades. First up was to replace the standard catalytic convertor with something far less restrictive. The standard cat is a nuisance in the pursuit of increased power, it simply won’t less the exhaust gases escape fast enough. The least restrictive option (and probably best in terms of outright power potential) would be to fit a de-cat pipe, but as my wife uses this car on a daily basis I didn’t much fancy the earache I’d face if the nice men at VOSA took the car off her and told her it wasn’t roadworthy as the emissions are too high! Plus, a de-cat pipe can make the exhaust system a tad too loud for everyday use. What I needed was something that would allow better performance, but remain completely road legal – a sports cat.
The car already had a Cobra Sport cat-back system fitted, so it made sense to add a Cobra Sport sports cat too. I knew it would fit with everything perfectly, and it has all been designed to work with the rest of the exhaust. It also means that I could choose a 200 cell option to ensure the car is totally road legal, and also to avoid any issues with the EML flashing on.
The next upgrade was to replace the tiny, wing-mounted original intercooler with the larger front-mounted Stage 2 upgrade from Airtec. The standard intercooler can’t cool the intake air sufficiently for the Stage 2 package, and the ECU will start to detect the ATCs increasing and pull the power back out to prevent the engine destroying itself if the stock intercooler is retained. So, to ensure that doesn’t happen, I’ve opted for the larger 60mm core Airtec front-mount intercooler. Fitting it all can be a bit of a faff, especially as the intercooler is so large it requires you trim the back of the lower grille to get the necessary clearance, but with everything in place and the bumper refitted it’s a stealthy mod that provides the required cooling upgrades we’re after, but without affecting the overall look of the car.
Finally, the third hardware upgrade required for a full Stage 2 conversion is an air filter upgrade. The original paper filter can be swapped out for a performance panel filter, but I opted to go the whole hog and fit a complete induction kit form Auto Specialists. This comprises a huge K&N cone filter that is more than capable of flowing the increased amounts of air required by Stage 2, and it offers a more exciting driving experience thanks to the increased induction and turbo recirculation noises. On top of that, it really does improve the looks under the bonnet too, especially when coupled with the Pro Hoses red silicone hoses and Auto Specialists hard pipes! Auto Specialists reckon to expect to see anywhere between 5-10bhp gain and improved torque and better throttle response just from the induction kit alone!
Behind the wheel I can say that it definitely does feel more alert already. It appears to have a sharper throttle response, and feels much more torquey at lower revs than it did previously. I am really pleased with the difference the sports cat has made to the audible experience too. Previously, with just the cat-back fitted, the exhaust could become a bit droney when at motorway speeds, but since fitting the sports cat the whole note has changed. It now has a really pleasing, raspy note to it – that coupled with the induction roar and recirc ‘psshh’ has really transformed the audible experience behind the wheel. It may sound daft, but that alone makes the car more exciting to drive.
It may feel more powerful since fitting the Stage 2 hardware, but that may just be in my head. We’ll find in the coming weeks when the car goes back on the dyno, but in reality the real benefits of all these hardware modifications means that we can install more aggressive software settings in the shape of a Stage 2 remap – and at that point we should expect to see even more power increases! I can’t wait!
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