If you’re in the market for a small hot hatch, you have plenty of models to choose from. And since the new-gen Clio has just been revealed, which means a new Clio RS is still some way into the future, or maybe want something different than the not-that-inspiring VW Polo GTI, then the following drag race might convince you to add another model to the list.
On the left side of the track sits the new Fiesta ST. It’s based on Ford’s seventh-gen subcompact hatchback and is powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder. Despite its small displacement, the turbocharged unit pumps out 200 PS (197 hp / 147 kW) and 290 Nm (214 lb-ft) of torque, allowing the ST to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 232 km/h (144 mph).
Standing next to it is the MINI Cooper S. TopGear brought the 33 kg (73 lbs) heavier five-door model against the three-door Fiesta ST. The Cooper S has a 2.0-liter turbo that has an extra cylinder compared to its challenger. Nevertheless, it is slightly down on power, as it makes 192 PS (189 hp / 141 kW), and puts out a bit extra torque, at 300 Nm (221 lb-ft), which translates into a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration of 6.9 seconds (6.8 sec in the 3-door) and a 235 km/h (146 mph) top speed.
On paper, the balance tilts in favor of the Fiesta ST, which is both lighter and more powerful than the Cooper S. But do these small differences make any difference in the real world? Only one way to find out.