Shortly after the launch of the Ford Focus RS, it was announced that a hot version of the Fiesta was definitely not in the cards at the moment. We were pretty sad that we won’t get to see a Fiesta RS anytime soon, but that was before we learned about the Fiesta ST200. Essentially, a high-performance version of the Fiesta ST, the ST200 brings the smallest hot-hatch to an entirely new level of performance.
The original ST (this iteration) was first introduced in 2013. It has a 1.6 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine developing 179 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. The ST200 produces, as you might have guessed it from its name, around 200 horsepower but more on that later. For starters, you only need to know the following. With strong influence from the Ford GT supercar and more importantly the Focus RS, the ST200 certainly appears as the best hot-hatch on the market today in its segment. Is that true, however?
Well, styling is subjective, but if it’s anything to go by, we’re going to have to say yes. Now, there are no differences between the ST and the ST200 (exterior panels wise), but you can get the ST200 in a Storm Grey finish, something which is unique to the ST200 alone. Couple that with the black front grille, black air dam louvers, corner vents and 17-inch alloys and you have a well put together package. In the world of fast Fords, having what is arguably the best hot hatch of all time finished in gray is a large deviation from the norm but then again, we think that’s what makes it even better. It’s not finished in the usual bright orange, green or even blue, but instead, it opts for a much darker color, something more sedated, keeping the entire thing in perfect balance. Don’t worry, if you’re a fan of bright colors not everything is lost. The brake calipers are finished in red, and there’s an “ST 200” badge on the rear to remind everyone trying to keep up with you what it is.
Among other things, the suspension received a noticeable upgrade. It’s been fine-tuned (the dampers and the springs), resulting in a ride height reduction of 15 mm. This doesn’t just look cooler, but it also lowers the center of gravity of the ST200, effectively making it corner better by that single tweak alone. It brings better stance when compared to the ST version, and the gap between the wheels and the arches is noticeably smaller.
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Interior of new 2017 Ford Fiesta ST200
Stepping inside, you find the same Recaro seats like the ones in the ST, but this time, you’ll notice they’re wrapped in Charcoal colored leather, with the whole thing being put together with silver stitching. Even the seat belts have silver detailing as well as illumination on the scuff plates. Elsewhere, the door panels have been slightly revamped with the pull handle now residing in the middle. The mirror and the controls for it are now more forward, towards the front of the panel. Other than that not much else has changed, but why to change something that didn’t need changing in the first place. With the simple mod they did to the door panel and the controls, the cabin actually feels much more spacious and open, and if anything less cluttered.
The instrument cluster and the dash are the same in the ST200 as is the steering wheel, but you can spot a difference if you try hard enough. The infotainment control knows on the ST200 is larger. The center console also has an “ST 200” badge, below the climate control panel. It’s not much, and it certainly doesn’t aid the car’s performance or luxury in any way, but it’s a nice touch, something a little extra to differentiate the standard ST and the much more powerful and capable ST200.
Engine and transmission
The big changes in the ST200 are obviously under the hood. The same 1.6-liter four cylinder EcoBoost engine now delivers 197 hp and 213 lb-ft of torque. An increase of 18 hp and 37 lb-t of torque. Although that may not sound like much, remember we’re talking about a small, light car, and one which still develops under 200 hp. Percentage-wise, that’s around a 10 percent increase, which we’ll tell you right away, is extremely noticeable even for an amateur. The increase in horsepower is nice, but it’s the 37 lb-ft of torque upgrade that really excites us.
Another thing worth mentioning is the overboost function the ST200 gets. If you thought those power figures still weren’t enough, hear this out: the overboost function will allow the EcoBoost unit to deliver an extra 15 hp and 22 lb-ft of torque for up to 15 seconds. That’s right, the ST200 can give you another 10 percent (roughly) increase in power. Talk about a punch.
The final drive gear ratio of the ST200 has been changed too. It went from 3.82:1 in the standard ST to 4.08:1 in the ST200. We presume it’s because the new model has a slightly more power, making it even more capable in terms of acceleration. Speaking of acceleration, the ST200 can hit 60 mph in around 6.5 seconds, a nice improvement over the standard ST that does the same thing in about 6.7 seconds. The top speed has been raised too. It’s now 143 miles per hour, some 13 mph more.
The ST’s strong side has always been its handling, and it’s no different with the ST200. This one drives like it’s on rails, it’s incredibly nimble and agile. With a much lower center of gravity, the ST200 is even better. And with the additional power on tap, it’s a lot faster at getting out of the corners too. Honestly, there are probably only two or three cars that can beat it around a small technical track, something like a go-kart stage perhaps.
Prices for the ST200 begin at around $25,000 but hurry up, it wouldn’t surprise us if they only produce it in limited numbers.