You also have a choice of gearboxes, with a manual or twin-clutch auto available, both with six speeds. The latter gets big, fixed paddles for when you want to change gear yourself, and with launch control it ought to be the faster option, too. But the manual will no doubt be more engaging.
The engine is a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbo, just like you’ll find in the new Alpine A110 sports car. Only here it drives the front wheels, and it’s more powerful, too. For now, it produces 276bhp and 287lb ft, which means it’s only a smidge more potent than the 2.0-litre turbo it replaces. But fast Meganes have always been about handling nous, rather than high power outputs. Hopefully nothing’s changed here.
Ford Fiesta ST
It’s the brand new Ford Fiesta ST. And similar though it may look to the car it replaces, it really is brand new beneath. And it’s exhibiting quite a philosophy change.
The current ST is a superb little hot hatchback that keeps things simple, the turbocharger on its engine the only notable nod to ‘technology’. Its replacement, however, is different. Out goes a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, replaced by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol with 197bhp and 214lb ft.
Lots of clever stuff like direct fuel injection and twin-independent variable cam timing help make the engine very efficient, says Ford, and though it still drives the front wheels through a manual gearbox, the next big piece of news concerns driving modes.
The outgoing Fiesta ST simply has a stability control button. Now, a drive select system will allow Normal, Sport and Track modes for the steering, engine, stability control and even engine noise, with something called Electronic Sound Enhancement now fitted as standard. Overall, it’s a far more multifaceted car than the unashamedly old-school ST it replaces. The aim, we’re told, is for the new Fiesta ST to “deliver a broader appeal for an even wider range of car-buyers”.