Let us consider for a moment some of the finest names in the hot hatch hall of fame: the fabled Peugeot 205 GTi has to be in there, for starters, and so too does the much celebrated Mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI. But the list wouldn't be complete without the glorious Ford Fiesta ST.
Indeed, the previous-generation Fiesta ST was Ford's performance division at its very best. A keen price, a fantastic turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and truly engaging handling meant it won no fewer than four Hot Hatch of the Year titles on the trot in the What Car? Awards. So the anticipation for the new model has been huge and Ford has been busy honing it to ensure it is even better than its legendary predecessor.
So it seems strange to say it's lost a cylinder. Yep, the Fiesta ST now has a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that features cylinder deactivation technology, allowing it to run on just two cylinders at a cruise to save fuel. But, fear not, with all cylinders firing, the engine kicks out a punchy 197bhp, allowing a 0-60mph time of 6.5sec and a top speed of 144mph. Thankfully, performance is still very much the order of the day.
Elsewhere, Ford has introduced the option of a limited-slip differential to help the front-wheel-drive Fiesta ST deliver its power to the road more effectively, stiffened the car's body to help agility, overhauled its suspension to ensure it handles more keenly and yet rides more comfortably, and given it bespoke Michelin tyres for better grip. There's even a launch control mode for perfect traffic light sprints.
So read on for our full review to find out how it drives, what the inside looks like and what it’ll be like to own. Plus, we’ll tell you how it stacks up against rivals such as the Peugeot 208 GTi and Renault Clio RS.