The Ford Puma, which was resurrected last year as a subcompact crossover for Europe, has now got a sporty ‘ST’ variant with more power on offer. The regular Puma already looks sporty, but the Puma ST takes it up several notches, which in fact makes the car look like a small hatchback from certain angles.
As for the styling, the Puma ST gets black accents on the front bumper; a tiny front splitter that is claimed to increase front end downforce by almost 80%; gloss black grille with ST branding; machined 19-inch alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres; gloss black rear spoiler; and the rear bumper with blacked-out bottom part.
The example here is finished in an exclusive color called Mean Green. Other options include Agate Black, Desert Island Blue, Fantastic Red, and Frozen White.
As for the suspension, the rear twist-beam is uprated to 2,000 Nm/deg torsional stiffness, an increase of more than 40% compared with Fiesta ST and 50% compared to the standard Puma, with a 28 mm anti-roll bar integrated into the U‑section. A front 24 mm anti-roll bar also contributes to cornering stability, Ford said.
Ford’s patented force vectoring springs also improve the Puma ST’s stability, agility and responsiveness. The non-uniform, non-interchangeable, directionally-wound springs apply vectoring forces to the rear suspension and enable cornering forces to travel directly into the spring, for increased lateral stiffness.
The spring technology works in combination with Hitachi twin-tube frequency-reactive dampers at the front and rear, with the stiffness needed for enhanced body control alongside the compliance to isolate smaller road imperfections for high-speed refinement. Bespoke bump stops have been specified to maintain control under high suspension loads.
As for brakes, the front discs are increased by 17% compared with the standard Puma to 325 mm, and at the rear, the discs measure 271 mm. The ST’s brake booster has also been tuned for modulation, feel and feedback.
The cabin has been spiced up with Recaro sports seats embossed with the ST logo and finished in Miko Dinamica material. There are also Ford Performance door sills, ST-branded floor mats, and of course, a flat-bottom leather steering wheel with ST branding. The 8-inch central touchscreen displays Ford Performance logo on start up. A premium B&O sound system is optionally available.
Moving on to the business end of the story, the Puma ST is powered by a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder EcoBoost (turbocharged) petrol engine that pumps out 200 metric hp (147 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque between 2,500-3,500 rpm — 30 Nm (22 lb-ft) more than the Fiesta ST. The engine is coupled with a 6-speed manual gearbox that drives the front wheels. The options list includes a mechanical LSD.
Also, the Puma ST’s steering delivers an 11.4:1 ratio – almost 25% faster than the standard Puma – thanks to a combination of revised front knuckle featuring a shorter steering arm and faster steering rack gearing, for heightened turn-in response, Ford said.
Last but not the least, the Puma ST is claimed to sprint from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 220 km/h (124 mph). Download the specifications sheet here.