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According to a report by Auto Express, the future Ford Fiesta ST could ditch the current model’s 1.6 litre EcoBoost engine for a tuned version of the smaller 1.0 litre unit.

“We’re seeing more and more of what we can do with the 1.0 litre engine in development and the signs are promising. It’s a great engine – it sounds brilliant and there’s loads of torque when the turbo comes on boost, so we’re looking into things for the next ST,” said Ford Europe’s head of small cars Darren Palmer.

This expected move is also supported by the fact that Ford has announced it will halve production at its engine plant in Bridgend, Wales, which makes four-cylinder engines. This will likely allow for more three-cylinder engines to be produced there, which may be destined for the new Fiesta ST.

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Currently, the 1.0 litre EcoBoost three cylinder outputs 123 hp and 170 Nm, but on the Formula Ford race car, the turbocharged mill has been modified to produce as much as 202 hp. If the new Fiesta ST is capable of delivering such numbers, it would be an improvement over the current car’s 180 hp and 240 Nm (not counting the ST200).

“There’s still a huge demand for the ST – we’ve seen that with the current ST200. But we want to offer more, so expect more performance and efficiency,” Palmer said, adding that the development team are also hard at work to “make sure it drives exactly how a Fiesta should.” With a lighter three-cylinder engine, the car’s handling should receive some benefit.

GALLERY: 2017 Ford Fiesta ST five-door prototype