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Ford’s updated Fiesta ST loses a cylinder, but not an ounce of power

Why it matters to you

The next-generation Ford Fiesta ST is a fun performance car that won't break the bank.

Following the European launch of its updated Fiesta subcompact, Ford has unveiled a new version of the Fiesta ST performance model at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. The next-gen Fiesta ST proves that less can really be more.

The Fiesta ST loses a cylinder, but gains a lot in the process. A 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine replaces the previous generation’s 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The new engine makes the same 197 horsepower as its predecessor, but churns out 11 more pound-feet of torque, for a total of 213. The three-cylinder is also lighter, which should improve handling. Speaking of handling, the Fiesta ST also gets brake-based torque vectoring.

Ford expects 0 to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds, as well as improved fuel economy. Like the 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine used in other versions of the Fiesta, the ST’s 1.5-liter unit has cylinder deactivation. It can shut down one of the engine’s cylinders under light loads to save fuel. Deactivating or activating a cylinder takes just 14 milliseconds, according to Ford.

The new Fiesta ST also gets three drive modes: Normal, Sport, and Track. They adjust engine mapping, stability, traction control, the electric power steering, and the sound of the exhaust. That is altered by a valve in the exhaust system, as well as artificially through Ford’s Electronic Sound Enhancement system. Electronic exhaust enhancers tend to sound a bit cheesy in other cars, so maybe Ford would’ve been better off leaving that box unchecked.

Like the previous version, the new Fiesta ST is distinguished from more pedestrian Fiesta models by sportier styling elements, which in this case seem to take some cues from the Ford Focus RS. The interior sports Recaro seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be available, along with a B&O Play audio system.

In Europe, the Fiesta ST will be available as a three-door or five-door hatchback, but expect the U.S. to get the five-door only. Ford will not discuss a U.S. launch date, but don’t expect the new Fiesta ST before the 2018 model year.