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Auto Express
by Chris Thorp

Oil-burners are getting even hotter! Insiders at Ford have revealed plans for an ST-badged diesel Mondeo to Auto Express. Set to be showcased alongside the hot Fiesta ST at the Geneva Motor Show, which starts on 4 March, the potent car is the next part of Ford's plan to cash in on the sporting oil-burner market.

Merging the letters ST with TDCi would have been unheard of a few years ago. However, following the success of the previous-generation VW Golf GT TDI, the blue oval is keen to create a racy flagship version of its family favourite.

By modifying the existing 2.0-litre TDCi motor, engineers have managed to get more power than ever before from a Ford diesel. With an increase in capacity to 2.2 litres, the four-cylinder unit will develop 148bhp - enough to make the car faster than its 3.0 V6 petrol stablemate, yet still able to return more than 40mpg.

The new model will be sold across Europe, but only Britain is likely to get the STTDCi badge, as UK buyers are far more interested in sporty diesels than continental customers. Home versions will be displayed at May's British Motor Show, and will wear the ST220's bodykit and large alloys. If the racy oil-burning brand is a success, it could also be carried over on to the next-generation Focus, due later this year.

Prices have yet to be announced, but the diesel is likely to be slightly cheaper than the 3.0-litre ST220 - which would mean a cost of around £22,000 for a five-door hatchback.

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