FORD FIESTA "ST" EDITION- THE MISSING INGREDIENTS
Ford recently announced the latest special rendition of the MK8 Fiesta ST but is there something missing from the recipe of this limited edition?
Since its introduction in 2013, the MK7 Ford Fiesta ST has worked its way into the history books as one of the most successful hot hatches to ever wear the blue oval- Possibly THE most successful of this generation. No matter whether your view of this car is a true drivers car or a McDonalds car park special, the modern day Fiesta ST has a cult following and is a bonafide future classic for the years to come proven on and off the racetrack. The final road edition of the MK7, the ST200, was a true limited edition with all the most important performance features of the car reworked as well as some real exclusive exterior parts. When the MK8 chassis took the reins in 2018 it carried on right where the MK7 left off. In 2017 a MK8 ST based chassis won the WRC on its debut under the guidance of the M-Sport team and Sebastien Ogier behind the wheel. Away from the rally stage, the MK8 ST was taking the tuning scene by storm with the new 1.5 Dragon engine proving to be immensely responsive and taking to modifications like a duck to water. Just as good-if not better-than the MK7.
In 2019, the first limited edition of the MK8 took to Britain's roads in immense fashion. The "Performance edition" of the Fiesta ST saw all the standard goodies of the top spec ST3 performance pack however with the inclusion of the brilliant deep orange paintwork and never seen before Ford Performance forged alloy wheels and Ford Performance fully adjustable coil overs from factory. The 1.5L power plant was left alone at the standard 197BHP however those new wheels and coilovers made up for this. As well as this, only 600 units were produced creating a worthy limited edition. Now, fast forward 12 months and Ford have announced the next edition run of the Fiesta ST. Aptly called the "ST Edition", (original right?) the car carries on where the performance edition left off however, i have some issues on the face of this.
Photo credits to Ford UK
Okay, so the new ST edition will start out life as a standard ST-3 featuring the factory performance pack (which includes the Quaife LSD and launch control), as well as the same Ford Performance coilovers and forged alloys. Sound familiar? You'd be correct in thinking this sounds rather similar to the orange performance edition and that's because it is. The two cars are virtually identical however the only difference being that the "ST" edition will be sold in the new Azura Blue paint with black contrasts and the alloys are finished in gloss black this time round. This is where my concerns lie.
To me, a limited edition of a car is determined by two factors; Exclusivity- which at only 300 units this car certainly ticks the box of- and individuality. The car must be genuinely different to the standard model with some headline features to set it apart from the rest and make it something that people desire to own. I just don't feel that this car has the "individuality" factor. Slapping some blue paint on the previous edition car and repeating the standard model name twice just doesn't do it for me.
Photo credits to Ford UK
As mentioned before, the 1.5L 3 cylinder "Dragon" is proving day in and out to be a spectacular engine. The standard 197BHP can very easily be pushed to 250BHP with a good quality map and bolt on parts and handle it without breaking a sweat, much like the previous 1.6L did. In the MK8 performance edition, the engine was left untouched but the chassis and suspension reworked. This time round, i feel Ford should have done something with the engine to build on what they already had with the performance model. The same engine will be used in the new Puma ST however in that chassis the torque is increased from 290 to 320NM. Proof that Ford know there is plenty left in the tank from the little 3-pot so I don't know why its been left untouched here. The MK7 ST200 also featured an engine rework, getting a factory Mountune MP215 map. Considering Mountune have already developed a formidable- and factory approved- aftermarket for the MK8 ST this should have been a no brainer!
In conclusion, i feel that there is no denying that this will be a great car but not great enough to be considered a "true" limited edition. Yes, there won't be many of them but i don't think this is enough. The car is just too similar to the last one to be considered special enough. The price is my final concern. £27,075. Nearly 30 grand is no small amount of money in anyone's terms especially to be putting into a Fiesta. I know that inflation has hammered the new car market and that your looking at £25K for a non-sporty Peugeot but that's still ALOT of money, especially considering what can be bought in the used market for that price category. Considering a normal ST3 can be bought for around £20K (or less for a lower spec), those same FP coilovers and wheels can be bought directly from Ford you can have an identical setup apart from colour for a fraction of the cost. As a true blue enthusiast i really want to like this one, but i just don't understand it. Ford, you missed a trick with this one.