Ford Fiesta ST200 review
Our Rating

4.5/5

Ford Fiesta ST200 review

The fastest production Fiesta ever made, the new Fiesta ST200 is the last hurrah of the current generation Fiesta, with 10% more power than the ST on which it’s based.

In honour of the 40th anniversary of the Fiesta and also as a last hurrah to the current generation Mk7 Fiesta, which will bow out of production later this year, Ford has created the new Fiesta ST200.

The seventh ‘fast Fiesta’ overall, the ST200 also just so happens to be the most powerful production Fiesta ever made, with a maximum output of 215bhp which puts it ahead of the likes of other legendary Fords like the Sierra RS Cosworth. A Fiesta.

As well as the extra power, the ST200 also gets an exclusive stealth jet-esque Storm Grey paintwork and some additional kit, while it’ll only be limited to somewhere between 400 and 1,000 models depending on demand.

So does the ST200 live up to the regular ST’s reputation for being the most fun car in its price range, and is it worth the considerable premium over it too?

Performance

The ‘200’ in the ST200 name refers of course to its power output in metric horsepower, which equates to 197bhp with 290Nm of torque. Compared against the regular ST, the ST200 is 10 per cent more powerful and has 20 per cent more torque, which comes courtesy of an increase in the turbocharger’s boost setting, plus new intake pipes.

But that isn’t the full story. No, Ford has also further increased the ST’s power via a revised overboost function, which temporarily dials up the amount of boost the turbo generates further to extract even more power and even more torque.

Overboost activates when the throttle’s pinned in third and fourth gears, and boosts output to 215bhp and 320Nm of torque, which makes this particular Fez Bomb more powerful than a Sierra Cosworth. Just let that set in for a second. The overboost lasts for 20 seconds at a time, which is 10 more than that of the regular ST, and lifting off resets the timer again for another 20 seconds of power.

Ford’s output figures for the ST have always been on the conservative side too, so in all likelihood the ST200 makes a bit more power than the figures suggest. It feels like a proper little rocket as well, with a responsiveness that escapes many of its peers and dollops of low-end power.

It puts that power down well, too. You can feel the front wheels scrabble a bit on adverse cambers but to be honest that kind of makes it feel more fun, like you’re reigning in some wild little beast. It’s got just the right amount of power to really excite, but not to the point where it feels unusable or intimidating.

Equipped with a quick shifting six-speed manual gearbox and an open front differential, the ST200 can cover the 0-62mph time in just 6.7 seconds, making it 0.2 seconds quicker than the regular ST. Top speed likewise rises from 139mph to 143mph.

The ST200 sounds brilliant too, with a surprisingly baritone exhaust note that rises from hearty belly laugh to screaming turbo-four crescendo. It’s still pumped in via the controversial sound symposer, but it sounds marginally naughtier than the regular ST due to the fact that the car sucks more air in the front via the new induction pipes.

Ride and Handling

It’s a complete laugh and will give any ‘big boy’ hot hatch a serious run for its money.

It’s a ridiculously addictive little thing to drive, with a chassis setup and an eagerness that would shame a great many ‘proper’ sports cars. Like the standard ST, it has a quicker steering ratio than your average Fiesta, which means you can pitch the car into sharp corners with incredible ease. The car’s blend of accuracy and power, the gobs of feedback from the wheel and its chuckable personality means that the ST200 continually goads you into pushing harder and further; it wants you to have as much fun as it’s having and places the driver smack bang in the middle of the experience, rather than cloistering them behind driver aids and electro-nannies. For the hot hatch enthusiast it’s a purer kind of driving than that offered by the current slew of mega-hatches like the Type R or the Focus RS, with its small dimensions and lack of trickery suiting its accessible nature and the smidgeon of extra power making it that bit more boisterous. Tip the front end in and back off the throttle sharply and it’ll reward you with a cheeky little waggle of lift-off oversteer, but not once does it ever feel hard to control. It’s just a complete laugh and will give any ‘big boy’ hot hatch a serious run for its money. The suspension is firm, as you might expect, but Ford actually quietly revised the setup across the Fiesta ST range last summer, and the ST200 resultantly gets the same slightly more relaxed dampers. It allows for a bit more pliancy in the corners, but it still feels plenty taut. Interestingly, it actually feels less harsh when you get up to speed, but don’t think you’ll be able to tackle speedbumps head-on as every little irregularity in the road is greeted with an audible THUNK! from under the car.

Interior and Equipment

With a maximum output of 215bhp, the Fiesta ST200 has more than double the power of the Mk1 Fiesta XR2, the first ever hot version of the Fiesta hatchback.

There’s not all that much to note about the interior of the ST200, as apart from the fact that it’s got silver seatbelts, a grey interior colour theme with grey stitching and seat inserts, plus a big “ST200” badge at the bottom of the centre console, it’s all standard Fiesta ST. That means the same slightly dated-looking dashboard architecture, the piddly display screen and that Sony infotainment control interface that’s got more buttons than your desktop keyboard. It’s all good though, because it still all works fine and the car’s equipment list is based on the range-topping ST-3 trim. As well as that, the ST200 has a couple of bits as standard that are optional extras on the ST-3, which include the likes of the red brake callipers. You also get nice black 17-inch alloys and that fantastic and exclusive Storm Grey paint finish, which was made by Ford’s in-house SVO custom shop and which you won’t find on any other Ford car from now until the end of time. Given that the current Fiesta is quickly approaching the end of its lifespan virtually every other rival on the market has a more upscale interior now, but in truth the cabin could be hot pink vinyl and nobody would care, it’s just that good to drive.

Cost

Perhaps the weakest aspect of the ST200 is the fact that it costs £3,000 more than the regular Fiesta ST in its most expensive guise.

That said, perhaps the weakest aspect of the ST200, and something which buyers may find hard to justify, is the fact that it costs £3,000 more than the regular Fiesta ST in its most expensive guise. Yes, the car gets its unique and exclusive Storm Grey paintjob, it’s limited to only 1,000 models at the very most and it comes with all the extra standard bits which are extra-cost options on the regular ST but it’s a big ask, exclusive or not. Consider too the fact that the factory-approved Mountune upgrade for the regular ST makes it more powerful than the ST200 for only £599 – about a fifth of the price of the ST200 – and lots of buyers will probably just go with the Mountune kit and have £2,400 left over for a pair of shell seats. Everyday costs will naturally be higher than a regular Fiesta too, with more expensive insurance and higher tax thanks to its CO2 rating of 140g/km. Officially, combined fuel economy clocks in at a respectable 46.3mpg, but if you drive this car how it’s meant to be driven you’ll be lucky to get half that.

Our Verdict

The Fiesta ST rightly sits at the very top of the pile in its respective segment, and the ST200 isn’t just more of the same, it’s more of the same. With plenty of power, brilliantly engineered handling and a boisterous personality it’ll leave you wondering why anyone would fork out hundreds of thousands of pounds for a Ferrari or even £30,000 for cars like its bigger brother, the Focus RS. It has its problems, namely whether or not you think its various exclusive bits are worth an extra £3,000 and we reckon many would rather have the Ford-approved Mountune pack. Still, judged purely on its own merits the ST200 is a proper little pocket rocket in the purest sense and highlights what an utterly brilliant car Ford has in the Fiesta ST.

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