To be honest, I've never gotten out of a Ford Fiesta ST and thought, "This is a great car, but what it really needs is more power and better handling." As one of the most entertaining cars available anywhere in the range of a blue-collar budget, the ST hot hatch has been a boon to the enthusiast community with its remarkably adept handling and involving feedback levels.
Despite never feeling short-changed by the current ST's performance envelope, I'd be well pleased to have a go in the even-hotter Fiesta ST200 just unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
The ST200 bumps power to 197 horsepower or a peak of 212 hp in its temporary overboost mode. More interestingly, torque receives a 20-percent boost to 214 pound feet.
0-60 mph is now quoted at 6.7 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds quicker than Europe's model presently achieves. And the ST's top speed is listed at 143 mph, a step up from 139.
The ST200 also receives a lower final drive ratio and a host of suspension modifications, including new springs and dampers that yield a 15-millimeter lower ride height. A keener 13.69:1 steering setup and recalibrated torque-vectoring and stability control systems team up with a newly fortified braking system (bigger rear discs and an uprated master cylinder) to suggest that nimbler handling is afoot.
What's the upshot of all this techno tweakery? The Fiesta ST, already one of the best pocket rockets on the market, should be even more fun.
There's no word yet on whether the ST200 will be sold in North America. But even if the model doesn't make it to our shores, I wouldn't be too surprised to see some of these higher-performing bits find their way under the skin of the standard ST.