Ford Fiesta ST GGR

Ford Fiesta GGR ST240 review: 2015 first drive

Ford Fiesta ST GGRThe Ford Fiesta ST is a sublime hot hatch that’s deservedly outselling its rivals hand over fist. As with the regular Fiesta, it proves that thousands of Brits a year will embrace cars that are brilliant to drive and should be a lesson for those manufactures who feel they can get away with merely adequate or, worse, substandard.

For the first time ever, the current Fiesta ST is also a world car sold in all markets in the same form. The nuances of how Ford measures engine output means it ‘officially’ has more power in the US – there, it counts overboost as part of the official figure, proving EU Fiestas are actually comparable with 200hp rivals in short 30-second bursts. It’s usually enough.

But for those who feel, actually, it’s not enough, and for others who want to really challenge the Fiesta’s exceptional chassis with yet more engine power, an aftermarket expert offers an intriguing kit. Graham Goode Racing, owned by the man who drove a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth to a BTCC title in the 1980s, agrees the Fiesta ST is superb and has tried to make it better still.

His approach is simple. His engineers have designed a new high-flow direct air induction system, replacing the standard air filter box that, amazingly, is shared with all other Fiestas (yes, even the standard 60hp motor). This consists of a K&N large-cone air filter sitting within a bespoke aluminium trumpet, complete with CNC machined mounting for the mass air flow sensor. There’s also a GGR induction hose made from smooth-walled silicone.

The extra airflow has been utilized by tech partners Superchips, who’ve created a bespoke engine tune, to good effect: 240hp at 6,600rpm and an even more impressive 252lb ft of torque at just 2,500rpm. This, on paper, is one very potent Fiesta indeed.

Question is, can you actually improve on a car that already approaches perfection? MR tested the GGR Fiesta ST240 to find out.

What’s the Ford Fiesta GGR ST240 like to drive?

Ford Fiesta ST GGR

Quell your fears. The Fiesta ST GGR is just as fantastic as the regular Fiesta ST. And then some. Because it’s more powerful, but no more uncouth – if Ford made a 240hp Fiesta ST, this is how you imagine it would drive.

Pootle about and, one obvious difference apart, it could pass for a regular ST. Same flexibility, same linear and torque response. Just more induction noise. A lot more. That’s the GGR-designed air intake which delivers all that additional oxygen the engine’s so hungry for. Think Darth Vadar running a marathon.

Floor it and you discover to what good effect it’s used. It’s explosive in a good way – fast and powerful rather than uncontrollable and unpleasant. The extra potency is appreciable and the way it cleanly drives right through the rev range makes it an extremely effective country road rocket. Often, the speed is very deceptive.

Throttle response is enhanced and the light weight of the car further enhances this pickup. 

So how fast is it? an online magazine tested it with Graham Goode Racing, and found that the standard car’s 6.8-second 0-60mph time was cut to 6.5 seconds with the GGR ST240 kit; more telling still is the 2.3-second reduction of the 0-100mph time, down to 15.0 seconds.

50-100mph in 5th gear, testing just how effective the extra torque is? Down from 13.9 seconds to 11.9 seconds. How quick, then? As quick as a new Ford Focus ST, that’s how quick – for rather a lot less…

Does the GGR ST240 feel factory-standard?

Drive the Fiesta GGR ST240 and you’ll swear Ford’s snuck through a Fiesta ST Plus. That’s how good it is, feeling anything but aftermarket. Power is spread throughout the rev range, there are no peaky flurries of freneticism and it will even do meek and mellow town-centre running with aplomb.

As with the standard Fiesta ST, its effervescence at high revs is fantastic and the engine remains as turbine-smooth as the regular car. It’s just that with so much more drive, getting there is even more energetic too.

In one way, it’s probably even better than the standard car. GGR has fitted an engine stabilizer bracket, which firms up the engine mounting and stops engine pitching. This quells torque steer and helps power be deployed more freely; the tighter feel is welcome and it’s particularly beneficial when powering hard through the gears.

This, along with the fact GGR hasn’t touched the already-perfect chassis one little bit, means it’s even more sublime than the regular car. Same exceptional handling and feedback, but with more power that’s yours without any more corruption or histrionics. And all for just £769. Really, what’s not to like?

It’s just the extra noise that some may find complaint about. It denotes the car as something different, but its prominence even in city motoring could be a bit too aftermarket for those who prefer totally discreet extra power. Maybe GGR could do something to dampen it away if it’s really an issue: we actually quite liked the extra audible feedback from the induction stream.

Verdict: Ford Fiesta GGR ST240

For less than £1,000, you can turn your Ford Fiesta ST into a Fiesta ST Plus – without losing any of the feel, finesse and handling supremacy you love, but gaining a whole lot more power to make even better use of it. 

Really, we found it hard to fault the Graham Goode Racing enhancement pack. It doesn’t mess with anything that doesn’t need messing with, just adds a very well-considered blend of extra power and torque. For the money, it’s a bargain.

It’s loud inside, yes, but the people to whom this appeals shouldn’t mind that so much (and we’re sure there are solutions to quell it if you ask). We didn’t think the best could be made better still: the Ford Fiesta GGR ST240 proves it can.

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