UPDATE: Ford officially confirmed the details below for the Fiesta ST at 10:00am on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
August 31, 2019: Pricing and details of the new-generation 2020 Ford Fiesta ST hot hatch have been leaked ahead of its Australian showroom arrival at the start of next year.
A confidential bulletin sent to Ford dealers – the details of which subsequently appeared online – has confirmed the Ford Fiesta ST will switch from being a three-door to a five-door for the first time locally, and the price will rise to $31,990 plus on-road costs.
European buyers have had the choice of three- or five-door body styles since the previous model Fiesta ST was introduced in 2013, but because Australia is a relatively small market, we get one model only.
As before, Ford Australia has opted to equip the Fiesta ST with as much standard equipment as possible, in-line with the top-end versions sold in Europe.
The full suite of safety tech includes autonomous emergency braking, speed sign recognition, a digital speed display, blind zone and rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance and rear parking sensors (front parking sensors are not available).
Australian Fiesta STs also get LED headlights with auto-dipping high beam, LED tail-lights, a heated leather steering wheel, power-folding side mirrors with puddle lamps, and keyless entry with push-button start. The spare tyre is a skinny space saver, as before.
A premium 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system is paired to Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment, with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital radio and embedded navigation built into the high-resolution 8-inch touchscreen. The only options in Australia will be a sunroof ($2500) and metallic paint ($650).
On the performance side, a mechanical limited-slip differential, which adds drive and grip out of tight corners, will be standard in Australia rather than an option as it is in Europe.
This will make the Fiesta ST one of the cheapest cars on sale in Australia with a mechanical limited-slip differential, even though the price has gone up significantly.
The previous-generation Fiesta ST cost $25,990 plus on-roads when it when on sale in August 2013, but the price had risen to $27,490 plus on-roads by the time it bowed out in April 2018.
The new Fiesta ST will be priced from $31,990 plus on-road costs when it arrives in dealerships in late January or early February 2020, giving it a drive-away price of close to $35,000.
However, it is significantly better equipped than before. Australia-bound Fiesta ST variants will come standard with the performance pack that is optional in Europe.
It includes the aforementioned mechanical limited-slip differential, 18-inch alloys with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres (17s are standard in Europe), launch control, and three driving modes that adjust steering sensitivity, stability control and throttle response.
As before, the new Fiesta ST is only available with a six-speed manual transmission; there is currently no automatic available globally.
The previous model’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo has been replaced by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo with more power and torque (up from 134kW/240Nm to 147kW/290Nm).
Although the gear ratios and final drive have changed to suit the power delivery of the new engine, first gear runs out at about 50km/h and second gear is done by about 90km/h.
Having to change to third gear before hitting 100km/h hurts performance times, which is why it feels faster than the official numbers.
Ford claims a 0-to-100km/h time of 6.5 seconds, but the best I could get using precision timing equipment during the media preview drive in Europe in 2018 was 7.1 seconds, a fraction faster than the outgoing model in real-world tests.
The other surprise: using launch control produced a slower 0-to-100km/h time than launching the new Fiesta ST manually.
Also standard: a bi-modal exhaust and electronic sound enhancer that pumps an amplified three-cylinder engine growl into the cabin.
Although the new Ford Fiesta ST has more power and torque than before, the vehicle’s weight has increased due to the slightly bigger body and extra equipment (up 65kg to 1262kg on equivalent European models).
Unfortunately, the brakes have not increased in size to match the new model’s extra mass, although the calipers are painted red. The vented front discs and solid rear discs are the same size as before. There is currently no Ford Performance-approved brake upgrade package available.
The boot is a bit bigger (up from 276L to 311L) and the cabin is slightly roomier. The five-door body will make it easier to open the front doors in tight parking spaces.
It might look familiar – and the exterior dimensions are almost identical to its predecessor – but this model is a clean-sheet design.
This new-generation Ford Fiesta ST was released in Europe in 2018. Its arrival in Australia is believed to have been delayed while the company waited for advanced safety tech to be made available.
Ford Australia would not confirm price and equipment details. In a statement to CarAdvice, the company said: “The all-new Fiesta ST has been eagerly awaited, and we’re pleased to confirm its arrival in Australia and New Zealand in early 2020, however the spec and details for our market are yet to be publicly announced.”
The bulletin issued to dealers says "details for the 2020.25 WG Fiesta ST will be issued on the (Ford Australia) website in September 2019".
It is due in local showrooms about the same time as the new generation Ford Focus ST.