The Ford Puma ST was cutting laps at the Nurburgring in Germany overnight and these are believed to be among the first images of the model wearing little disguise.
The Ford Puma ST is a city SUV with the DNA of a hot hatch – and the engine from one, for that matter.
According to our spy agency based in Germany, under the bonnet of this Ford Puma ST test vehicle is the same 1.5-litre turbo three-cylinder (147kW/290N) used in the Ford Fiesta ST that just went on sale in Australia.
Also borrowed from the Ford Fiesta ST is the six-speed manual transmission that helps deliver the power to the front wheels.
That gearbox is probably the reason the Ford Puma ST won’t come to Australia.
The regular Ford Puma range is due in local showrooms in the coming months; there are already photos and details on the Ford Australia website.
However, CarAdvice understands the Ford Puma ST is unlikely for Australia because it has a manual transmission only, for now.
We say ‘for now’ not because we think there is an auto coming, but because we hope there is an auto coming for this and the Ford Fiesta ST – to broaden the appeal of both models and boost their performance without losing valuable fractions of a second to gear changes.
The 0 to 100kmh claim for the Ford Fiesta ST is 6.5 seconds (we got 6.9 to 7.0 seconds on our precision timing equipment), and the Puma ST is expected to be about 0.5 second slower given its extra weight.
In the meantime, we will keep holding onto the hope that Ford will somehow find an automatic to put behind the Ford Puma ST and Fiesta ST twins.
Ford Australia declined to comment on the spy photos or give us a steer on whether the vehicle will be sold locally.