Europe (secret location) - Ford has gone underground to promote its seventh-generation Fiesta ST. Not underground in the guerrilla fighters or bootleg music sense of the word, but literally.
A new film shows the compact hot hatch being taken through its paces 400 metres below ground in one of Europe’s largest salt mines.
Shot at a secret location with World Rally Championship driver Elfyn Evans at the wheel, the Fiesta ST is seen slipping, sliding and jumping in the dirt. The sound of the 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine is amplified by its surroundings as it tackles a high-speed drop through the narrow entrance tunnel.
“The salt is actually like fine gravel to drive on, quite slippery to be honest, especially on road tyres,” said Evans. “You expect it to be claustrophobic but actually it’s quite the opposite, a great place to really enjoy the new Fiesta ST.”
The advert is part of Ford’s Europe's Greatest Driving Roads series which puts a range of Ford performance vehicles -including the Ford GT, the Ford Focus RS and the Ford Mustang Convertible in some of the most stunning environments across the continent - from the Arctic Circle in Norway, to the sunny climes of Mallorca.
So far, all the locations have been above ground.
The new ST is the flagship of the seventh-generation Fiesta range, of which the bread-and-butter derivatives went on sale in South Africa a couple of months ago.
The ST is hustled along by a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol turbo engine with outputs of 147kW and 290Nm – the same as the old Fiesta ST 200’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo - but now it gets a fuel-saving system that deactivates the middle cylinder to improve fuel consumption by 20%.
It’s also the first Fiesta ST to get selectable driving modes, namely Normal, Sport and Track. Launch control gives this spirited Fiesta the ability to scoot from rest to 100km/h in just 6.7 seconds, while it will max out at a claimed 232km/h.
Sadly, as far as local motorists are concerned the new Fiesta ST may as well be underground as it’s not coming to South Africa, as it’s apparently not compatible with our fuel.