FORD FIESTA ST AUSTRALIA
Renault's new Clio RS will also be in Australia soon - but Ford can scratch the Opel Corsa OPC from its list of rivals.
While more affordable, the Fiesta ST gives little away to its peers, offering comparable power and acceleration figures.
The ST is also packed with Ford's latest technologies and, while the Polo GTI can be had only with a DSG auto transmission, the ST matches the Peugeot for offering a manual as standard equipment.
The new hot hatch is driven by Ford's 1.6 litre EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, producing a tasty 134kW and 240Nm.
And with the ST's 'Overboost' function doing its thing, those figures climb to 147kW and 290Nm.
Channeling power to the front wheels through a six-speed manual, Ford says the EcoBoost engine will propel you to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds. Fuel use is listed at 6.2 l/100km.
The ST is 15mm lower than the standard Fiesta and features the trick Torque Vectoring system (as seen on the Focus) and three electronic stability modes.
Styling and aero tweaks see the Fiesta ST get a makeover similar to its Focus ST brother, with deeper front and rear bumpers, skirts, roof spoiler and a diffuser.
There's also an eight-speaker Sony audio system and 4.2-inch colour TFT display.
In Australia, the Fiesta ST will face off not only against the Polo GTI, but also - when it gets here later this year or early in 2014 - the new Clio RS.
Of course, buyers with a preference for a manual transmission may lean to the Fiesta ST, but it's heading into a tightly-fought sub-segment.
Watch for TMR's launch review this week.
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