A more practical variation on the three-door variant that debuted in Frankfurt, the new Ford Fiesta ST Concept five-door made its first public appearance in Los Angeles. While sharing much of the same high-profile visual character and high-performance mechanical bits as its precursor, this latest iteration is based on the Fiesta body style that's sold here in America. Best of all, Ford execs freely admit that this striking one-off indicates the direction it intends to pursue with a future production model.

>See more new cars unveiled at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show

Motivation for the Fiesta ST Concept five-door comes from a potent yet efficient turbocharged/direct-injected 1.6-liter/four-cylinder EcoBoost engine tuned to make 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque which gets transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Like the rest of the ST package, the suspension tuning was inspired by the competition Fiestas Ford enters in the World Rally Championship. Those more finely-honed underpinnings combined with a unique 17-inch wheel/tire package give the car a lower, more aggressive stance as well as a dramatically higher level of absolute controllability.

Like the three-door, the new Fiesta ST Concept five-door displays the same kind of fast-focused visual upgrading that starts with a rally-inspired full body kit and wider fender flares designed to suitably highlight its overtly aggressive attitude. A bolder front fascia is highlighted by a larger grille with a black mesh honeycomb insert while the tail gains a roof spoiler and unique diffuser that houses dual chrome exhaust outlets. Ford has yet to share information on what we can expect to see inside of the ST Concept 5-door, but based on changes made to its larger Focus ST sibling, it's safe to assume that the cabin will be upgraded with a similar set of enthusiast-oriented tweaks.

Although its arrival time remains open to speculation, Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development left little doubt about the ultimate future of this hottest Fiesta variant. "The Fiesta has a rich history of high-performance models so a new ST performance model is a logical next step in our performance vehicle strategy for our global small cars."

That sentiment was duly echoed by Jost Capito, Ford director of Global Performance Vehicles, who added "With the Focus ST we promised to deliver uncompromised sports performance and styling to a truly global audience for the first time, without sacrificing Ford's key values of Quality, Green, Safe and Smart. With the Fiesta ST Concept, we are demonstrating that our global performance plan has legs."

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