Early last year Ford released the Heritage Edition Focus RS. The limited-run car came with a couple of performance upgrades, but the most notable change was the orange paint.

It turns out because it only made 50 Focus RS Heritage Editions, Ford had a few cans of orange paint left lying around. With them Ford has freshened up 600 Fiesta ST-3s and is selling them as the 'Performance Edition'.

Of course, the bright hue for the bodywork doesn't add any extra 'performance', but the lightweight 18-inch Ford Performance alloy wheels (which cut 7 kgs of weight), Ford Performance coilover suspension pack, specially-designed Quaife limited slip differential, and launch control certainly do.

Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition

The Nürburgring-developed suspension upgrade is of particular interest, because not only does it lower the ride height by 15mm at the front and 10mm at the rear, but it can be adjusted manually, with 12 bump settings and 16 rebound settings for a personalised, finely-tuned driving setup – that sounds more supercar than supermini.

Other, less performance-y additions include LED headlamps, a Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, and Formula 1-style shift light indicators.

Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition
Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition

“The Fiesta ST is the car that keeps on giving,” said Andy Barratt, managing director, Ford of Britain. “It’s fast, fun, affordable, practical and economical – and now we’ve built a unique example for Ford fans wanting to stand out from the crowd. This ST is for customers who are performance-oriented drivers and tuning enthusiasts who demand maximum fun on the road combined with a sporty appearance – the ultimate Fiesta ST.”

The standard Fiesta ST has already proved to be hugely popular in its first year on the market. Since it arrived in showrooms last May, more than 5,000 have already been sold and it has been awarded accolades such as Parker’s overall Car of the Year, and both Top Gear Magazine’s Car of the Year and Hot Hatch of the Year.

The Performance Edition's enhancements do come with a hefty premium though. While the ST-3's list price is just short of £22,000, the ST Performance Edition will cost at least £3,000 more when it goes on sale in June.

Gallery: Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition