Ford Fiesta Lupini
The standard Ford Fiesta is a pleasant car. It does its job. Good value, decent looking, some pretty good bits of tech and overall nice. Not inspiring for the petrol heads perhaps, but nice. What we would call a good package..
But the die-hard Blue-Oval badge wearing boy racer demands something more, something more inspiring. Crisper, faster, taughter, leaner, more edgy. Something that can leave its competitors surprised at the traffic light sprint. Ford isn't presenting such a beast, but a long known doyen of the tuning arts has returned with a solution. Lupini has converted the Fiesta. This is a properly done conversion with a 3 year unlimited kilometre warranty by Lupini. Available from Lazarus Ford, they take the standard unit and begin to work it up. The trouble with many home grown modifications is the lack of comprehensibility, the elimination of any hint of a warranty and the danger of stressing things too far This one relies on Lupini's experience and understanding. They had their previous laser mod, and this one, although packed with modern tech and convenience features, surpasses the old in every way. That was the benchmark they set themselves.
Now to the test. It must be noted that this was the development unit and was still under development, with some promises of improvement coming up. If anything the one you would buy would be better and my comments are as tested. While the standard ekes out 88kW this one growls, and I mean growls with 110kW at 400rpm higher. Torque is up from 149Nm to 175. The torque curve feels less flat though. This drops the 0-100 from about 10 seconds flat in the standard car to 8.6, a decent improvement. The sound is a winner, about the best you are going to get from a non-race prepared rally fiesta. Rip snorting in a very good way. Surprisingly fuel economy drops to a miserly 5.7l/100km! Lupini has worked its magic on the drivetrain in the normal kind of way, modifying the head cam and exhaust. Making this different from the backyard brigade is the addition of progressive rate springs and race spec brake pads and rotors. The cosmetic finishes are a winner too with the matt black vinyl the entire car is wrapped in giving it awesome overtaking presence and an unnatural meanness.
The manual was the one on test and it is a car that slightly confuses me. Being the baby of the range one expects an easy drive. Encouragingly they have not fallen for this lure towards mediocrity and we get a car with some bite. Drop that clutch and you are reminded about concepts like torque steer and struggling to get all the power down. Such is the lot for the front wheel drive. Now I like this. A lot. But it does require a skilled driver paying attention to make this concept fun. For the cruiser buying the TT to be seen in, perhaps the DSG cog swapping TT would soften the delivery.
It must be noted that this is not a posers car, if you want just the cosmetics, they will give it to you, at a lower price point. This is about the dynamics. Not for the Miss Daisies. The car is flawless when pushed hard. It delivers wonderfully. Precise, taught and feels faster than it is. It is all hot hatch. Drive it in a sedentary manner and you are better off with the standard unit, it will underfuel occasionally at low revs when pulling off, and doesn't like too gentle a hand. Development will cure most of these issues, and is a matter of fine tuning. This one needs to be given both spurs. Always.
A Fiesta in Ambiente spec with the Lupinini massage will set you
back just under R200k, while a full spec Titanium with 17” wheels
and all the bells will see you parting with R240k, Ford and all./p>