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Ford Shows Production-Ready Fiesta ST In Geneva 6
Mar
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Ford, Ford Fiesta ST, Geneva Motor Show, Hot Hatchbacks, Kurt on 03 6th, 2012

Ford's Fiesta ST. Image: Ford Motor Company

We’ll hit you with the bad news up front: the Fiesta ST, debuting in “production ready” form at this week’s Geneva Motor Show, won’t be coming to the United States anytime soon. Blame it on a car-buying public that avoids small hatchbacks, or blame it on a weak dollar and strong Euro, but no matter what the reason, the Fiesta ST won’t be in a U.S. Ford dealer’s showroom in the foreseeable future.

Ford's Fiesta ST. Image: Ford Motor Company

We think that’s a shame, partly because we have a thing for hot hatchbacks, but also because the Fiesta ST could easily step in to fill the role of “best bang for the performance buck” vacated by the current Honda Civic Si. Even in stock form, the Fiesta ST is rated at 177 horsepower and comes with a torque-vectoring differential, which can propel the Fiesta ST from 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than seven seconds, on its way to a top speed of 137 mph.

Ford's Fiesta ST. Image: Ford Motor Company

The Fiesta ST even comes with three electronic stability control modes, since Ford (correctly) assumes that buyers will use the car for track days and autocross competition. Buyers get Recaro sport seats, too, which appear to blend fabric and leather for maximum grip and comfort.

Ford's Fiesta ST. Image: Ford Motor Company

Ford's Fiesta ST. Image: Ford Motor Company

Never say never, though, since Ford “remains open to the idea of introducing the high-performance small car to other regions, including North America.” While European customers will be buying Fiesta STs in early 2013, those of us on this side of the pond will need to wait a bit longer. Jost Capito, Ford’s director of Global Performance Vehicles, promises that the automaker will “have more to say about our plans for other markets in the near future.”

Ford's Fiesta ST. Image: Ford Motor Company

We hope the Fiesta ST is a go, but then again we also though the Focus ST would be on the market by now. Let’s hope that Ford delivers good news on both fronts in the very near future.



BMW’s M135i Concept Bows Before Geneva Debut 24
Feb
Posted by Kurt Ernst in auto show, Automotive, BMW, BMW M135i, Concept Vehicle, Geneva Motor Show, Hot Hatchbacks, Kurt on 02 24th, 2012

BMW's M135i hot hatch. Image: BMW AG

BMW’s M Performance line was announced last month, and so far the sub-brand’s focus has been on turbodiesels. That changes with the Geneva debut of the M135i hatchback concept, which, for the record, we want very, very badly to see in the United States. We’re fans of the hatchback, and we question the automakers’ assumption that “Americans won’t buy hatchbacks.” We say they will, especially when they come packaged as nicely as the M135i.

BMW's M135i hot hatch. Image: BMW AG

We like the aggressive 19-inch M-branded wheels, and we appreciate the M Performance striping down the side and on the hatch. We’re confident that the M-tuned suspension will meet out expectations, as will the Twin Power Turbo 3.0-liter inline six under the hood. BMW says the engine is good for “more than” 300 horsepower, which should prove to be plenty entertaining in a car with the M135i’s dimensions.

BMW's M135i hot hatch. Image: BMW AG

It’s very likely that BMW will build and market this car in Europe, but it’s hatchback layout makes it a long shot for the U.S. market. We hope we’re wrong on this, because the car, if priced right, has tremendous potential to bring new buyers into the BMW brand. Last year’s 1-Series M was priced beyond the reach of enthusiasts on a budget, but the M135i doesn’t have to be. We say build it, and bring it to this side of the pond; as long as the car isn’t optioned out with things we don’t need (like leather seating or an automatic climate control) our checkbooks are ready and able to throw down a deposit.



False Alarm: Ford Won’t Show Production Focus ST At Woodward 18
Aug
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Ford Focus ST, Automotive, Ford, Hot Hatchbacks, Kurt, News on 08 18th, 2011

The Focus ST show car. Image: Ford Motor Company

Yesterday’s rumor du jour had Ford debuting the new Focus ST at this weekend’s Woodward Dream Cruise. It turns out that a Focus ST will be on hand, but it’s the same pre-production show car that’s been making the rounds since last October’s Paris Motor Show. In other words, it’s just to look at and drool on, not to actually drive.

Ford will debut the real Focus ST at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, so we’re still just a few weeks away from seeing what the production car will look like. We expect Ford will announce pricing, availability and final specifications at Frankfurt, so stay tuned for details. If past history is any indication, Ford may opt to introduce the car in Europe first, followed by the United States. If that’s the case, let’s just hope the delay between launches isn’t too long.

What we think we know so far is this: the 2012 Focus ST will have a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine good for 247 horsepower, sent through a six speed manual transmission to the front wheels. We don’t think the Focus ST will have a “conventional” limited-slip differential, but will take advantage of Ford’s torque-vectoring technology to mirror the effects of an LSD without adding additional weight. Expect suspension tuning to be on the stiff side, since the Focus ST is intended to be a driver’s car, and expect the pricing to be competitive with others in the segment. We’ll call it “in the high twenties, low thirties” until Ford tells us otherwise.

Source: Ford



Audi’s RS3: Almost Worth Moving To Europe For 24
Mar
Posted by Kurt Ernst in audi, audi rs3, Automotive, Hot Hatchbacks, quattro, video on 03 24th, 2011

The 2011 Audi RS3. Image: Auto Express

The Audi RS3 is forbidden fruit in the United States, since Audi deems it “too targeted” for the U.S. market. It’s also too expensive for a country that tends to ignore station wagons and hatchbacks, even if they are faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera S. As AutoExpress points out, the RS3’s selling price in the UK is ₤40,000, which works out to be around $65,000 on this side of the pond. That’s enough to put you in a well equipped Porsche Cayman, a BMW M3 coupe or even a loaded base model Corvette, but that’s the very reason that Audi created the car. What other choices are there for enthusiasts who like to drive fast, but also need more room than a sport coupe (even one with a back seat) provides?

I’m a big fan of Audi’s S3, which makes me a bigger fan of the RS3. It doesn’t matter that we can’t get the 340 horsepower, quattro AWD equipped uber-wagen here, since it’s out of my price range anyway. Still, like Audi’s old S4 Avant, it’s enough for me to know that such an animal exists. If I ever do make it back up to the kind of income level needed to buy an RS Audi, the RS3 is a far better choice for me than the TT-RS. Unless our economy rebounds overnight, I won’t be in the market for an RS3 anytime soon, which gives Audi ample opportunity to rethink their position on U.S. sales.

Source: YouTube







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