It was a sunny afternoon early in the fall when a mechanical howl rang through an almost empty parking lot as Ken Block bounced his engine off the rev limiter. A small crowd watched from behind a concrete barrier as he, the car and a queasy-looking passenger charged through a closed course.
Smoke pouring from all four wheel wells, the car careened in a figure eight between two Ford Fiestas and several dozen orange cones dotting the course. Just another day’s work for one of the world’s most dynamic professional hooligans.
When he isn’t busy with DC Shoes, extreme sports or rally racing, Block can often be found punishing tires at promotional events. If you happen to be in Las Vegas next month during the SEMA Show, he’ll probably be at the “Ford Out Front” display melting a small mountain of slicks to the tarmac.
His all-wheel drive Fiesta rally car has less in common with the Fiesta ST you can buy at Ford stores than Donald Trump does with Gandhi. But after watching “Gymkhana 5” and being lucky enough to experience Block’s special brand of hooliganism first hand at SEMA last year, an invitation from Ford to see it all again seemed too good to pass up.
It also gave us the chance to “sit down” with Block and ask him what his five most noteworthy points about the 2014 Fiesta ST are.
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A 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine sends 197 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, which is more than enough for the 2,742-lb car. It’s sent exclusively through a six-speed manual transmission.
Take a second to reflect on the fact that a 1.6-liter inline four cylinder is making that much power. While it’s far from being the most power-dense engine per liter (that title belongs to the freakish 355-hp 2.0-liter turbo in Mercedes’ CLA45 AMG), it’s still striking.
Here’s a little perspective: the 2.5-liter V6 Lexus uses to power its IS250 sport sedan makes 205 hp and a paltry 185 lb-ft of torque. That engine is 56 percent bigger and in most ways is less powerful. There are just as many reasons why that isn’t a straightforward comparison, but still…
There are seven colors to consider, and they range from being as unassuming as the car’s body kit to shades like “Molten Orange” or “Green Envy,” Block’s personal favorite. Ford fits every Fiesta ST with 17-inch alloy wheels that can come without paint or with a gray coat for an extra $375.
If you really want to go crazy, Ford will even set you up with a vinyl wrap customized for the Fiesta. Ford Custom Graphics will put anything on your car from a side of bacon to that drunken “selfie” you took last New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas… The quality of the wrap is guaranteed, but your dignity isn’t.
In theory, the fact that Ford can offer tailored vinyl wraps opens an infinite number of doors both good and bad. Better still, it will protect the paint and can be peeled off once driving a hot-pink hot-hatch gets old.
Available Recaro seats are a must-have upgrade in this car. They hold you tighter than your Aunt Merle; only they won’t insist on giving you a Werther’s Original or a sloppy kiss.
There’s also a push-button start, and otherwise you’re essentially getting the same amenities as a “Titanium” Fiesta. Then again, that make sense considering this is the most expensive version Ford sells.
Don’t let the upright proportions fool you. Like its Focus ST big brother this car has an electronic differential to limit wheel spin and maximize traction. The system will apply braking to individual wheels to help put the power down. Plus, it also has a special trick that will apply the brake on the inside rear wheel to help rotate the car.
Front-wheel drive be damned, you’ll notice that the rear end actually likes to kick out a little. It’s intoxicating.
FUN TO DRIVE
Remember when you were young and having fun took priority over less important things like doing homework and bathing? Well, the Fiesta ST just might bring some of that back.
On the surface, it might seem like a cop-out for this to be the final point, but Block is right. There’s something about driving a boosted little hatchback like this that will remind you what it felt like to laugh hysterically at an armpit fart or booger joke. It revives your inner child.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Ford Fiesta Review — VIDEO
Interested in learning more about the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST? Read our full review and watch Road Test Editor Mike Schlee take it through an autocross course.
Or you can also head to our new-cars section to read about pricing, technical specifications and to compare it side-by-side with other vehicles you may be considering.
GALLERY: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
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