What It's Like Driving A 256bhp Ford Fiesta ST

Mountune's 'M260' pack for the Fiesta ST, which livens up the hot hatch without spoiling what's so appealing about the stock car

Ford probably won’t ever make a Fiesta RS. Such a thing has been mooted a few times, but the last time we checked, Blue Oval bigwigs deemed an all-powerful RS to be “not necessary“. And to an extent, we get this. The Fiesta ST is so good out of the box that you do have to question the need for extra power and an even more focused chassis.

Regardless, we can’t help but be curious. We suspect it’s the same for you. Happily, the aftermarket allows us to live out this fantasy. Mountune, for example, has all sorts of Fiesta ST tuning options up its sleeve. We already sampled a Fiesta ST a while back with various chassis mods and an ‘M235‘ power pack that provides 232bhp, and now the Essex-based outfit has a demo car with the even fruitier ‘M260’ kit.

Ford - What It's Like Driving A 256bhp Ford Fiesta ST - Features

This wrings 256bhp (260hp) from the Fiesta’s little 1.5-litre through the use of two fairly non-invasive bits. The first is a Bluetooth unit that plugs into the OBDII port, and the second is an ‘mTune Smartflash’ phone app. The outlay is a mere £675, and anyone who already has the M235 stuff can upgrade for just £100. In reality, it’s worth spending more, with Mountune recommending its induction kit, charge pipe and meatier intercooler to “maintain performance and reliability”.

The test car has all that fitted, along with a short-shift kit, 20mm lowering springs and uprated brake discs and pads. We’ll get to those later. As for the powertrain stuff, we can go right ahead and put a big tick in the ‘recommended’ box. Chuffing hell, is it quick now.

Ford - What It's Like Driving A 256bhp Ford Fiesta ST - Features

Things start to get exciting from just under 2,000rpm, with the engine really getting into its stride between 4,000 and 5,000rpm. The engine has an enormous amount of clout here while putting out a suitably raspy din from the Mountune exhaust. The £695 pipework sits just downstream of the particulate filter, so don’t expect anything too rude in terms of volume. The flip side is it’ll be easy to live for less spirited day-to-day driving.

Unless the upper reaches are explored frequently, the M260 doesn’t feel dramatically different to the M235. That’s because power is only part of the story. The latter kit boosts the torque from 214lb ft to a mighty 258lb ft, which is only built on slightly by the M260, making just 8lb ft more.

Ford - What It's Like Driving A 256bhp Ford Fiesta ST - Features

That’s for the best, as the power and torque outputs of the M260 are about as far as you should want to push one of these things. At these levels, the Quaife mechanical limited-slip differential does a great job of effectively getting the power down (don’t even dream about fitting this kit to an ST without the diff-equipping Performance Pack) in most situations. Torque steer is absent for the most part, only experienced during full-throttle applications on dodgy surfaces.

As for the chassis stuff, we’ll happily take the extra bite from the new brake parts, but we’re less sold on the springs. The Fiesta certainly looks great with a 20mm front and rear drop, but the standard car is already a tad firm for its own good. With these new coils, the ride can be harsh over poorer stretches of tarmac, hampering comfort and making the car feel more nervous than it needs to.

We’re much more fond of the quick-shifter - it turns the ST’s unremarkable standard gear-change into a much more mechanically-satisfying affair.

Ford - What It's Like Driving A 256bhp Ford Fiesta ST - Features

With or without these extras, you could consider the ST M260 the Fiesta RS that Ford never made. Much like the Focus M330, the under-bonnet changes don’t feel outrageous. There’s a sort of ‘OEM+’ feel to proceedings - the M260 could easily pass for something that just rolled off a Ford dealership forecourt, which is perhaps no surprise since Mountune packs like this once had official Blue Oval approval.

It’s well within what the car is capable of and doesn’t push the engine far enough that turbo lag becomes an issue. And if you want, you can do the same thing to the new Puma ST, which we’ve driven too. More on that one soon.