Following in the wheeltracks of the original hugely successful Punto hatchback, which has accounted for over six million sales since its launch in 1993, the new Grande Punto’s objective is to regain leadership of the highly competitive and crucially important European compact hatchback market.
Grande Punto, passion on the move
The Grande Punto, the new Fiat that aims to repeat the historical success of the previous model, without following in its footsteps, makes its debut in Turin. Although in theory the car belongs to segment B, its size, equipment and characteristics actually represent an alternative to many segment C cars.
The Grande Punto is therefore unique in the world panorama, designed and built to be the new benchmark in stylistic terms, introducing a concept of larger ’dimensions’. The model also reaches safety and quality standards that are particularly high for its segment, it offers the best range of diesel engines and, finally, it has a very competitive price/content ratio. As a result of all these features, the Grande Punto interprets three fundamental qualities, beauty, solidity and brilliance in a highly original way.
The result is a car that embodies the passion, and the styling and construction capabilities of a brand that was founded over a century ago. Because this is part of the brand’s genetic make-up, together with the work and professional pride of thousands of people - technicians, blue collars and managers - who have worked in its plants and offices, and on the race track, over the years. It contains the roots of the inimitable personality that ensure that we immediately recognise a Fiat among all the cars we see on the road. There has always been a Fiat car for the people who first discovered the car as an irreplaceable means of individual mobility, and then learned to appreciate cars that are beautiful, reliable and enjoyable to drive, but above all at an accessible price.
And the Grande Punto is no exception; in fact it sets new styling, safety and comfort parameters for this category, where the world’s best manufacturers are all vying for space. Suffice it to say that the compact segment represents 26% of the Western European car market, in other words, the ’core’ of the market, with about 3,750,000 cars sold a year. This is even more the case in Italy, where this category accounts for 37% of the market, made up 56% of petrol engines and 44% of diesels.
In order to achieve and maintain the lead in this market bracket, the Grande Punto must make a real leap forward in conceptual terms. Only a few years ago, a car with these dimensions, comfort and equipment would have been considered a ’family car’, and certainly not a compact. Which is why only a brand like Fiat could have swept away the classic categories to dictate times and methods, once again setting trends and imposing concepts and innovative solutions. The latest arrival from Fiat takes a generation leap forward compared to the previous model, as the Punto did in relation to the Uno when it was launched in 1993, and the Uno did in relation to the 127. The name lives on, as a wonderful legacy of a car that has been appreciated by 6 million customers with different tastes, ages, nationalities and social extraction.
The three winning qualities of the new model
Developed by Italdesign-Giugiaro together with the Fiat Style Centre, the styling of the Grande Punto stands out in the current automotive scene for the beauty of the exterior line, which is modern, elegant and distinctly ’Italian’, a ’Mediterranean’ stylistic language where the tapered rounded lines seem to be inspired by the sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s. Like the exterior, the interior of the Grande Punto represents the most evolved expression of Italian styling, thanks to the quality of the materials and the care that went into every detail. The result is a luminous, welcoming, functional environment.
This is a car created to ’excite’, but also to express the solidity that comes from superb quality standards. This is borne out by extremely high safety standards, attention to detail that is unusual in this market bracket, and exceptional comfort. This impression is confirmed by the car’s external dimensions which put it at the peak of its category: it is 403 cm long, 168 cm wide, 149 cm high and has a wheelbase of 2.51 metres, measurements which translate into an extraordinary amount of interior roominess. The Grande Punto is clearly a car of superior quality: from the very first stages of the project, the team working on it pursued very high quality standards, drawing on a stringent engineering process, based on a very strong platform, while it applied the most advanced, innovative reliability methodologies throughout the model’s development and industrialisation.
And finally, the Grande Punto is agile and enjoyable to drive in all situations. A brilliance derived primarily from its engines, which combine excellent performance, low fuel consumption and absolute respect for the environment (they are all Euro 4). There are two petrol engines (the 65 bhp 1.2 8v and the new 77 bhp 1.4 8v), and four turbodiesels (the 120 and 130 bhp 1.9 Multijet, the 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet 16v and the new 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet 16v with a variable geometry turbo).
’Value’ as a key to success
In other words the stage seems set to repeat the market success of the previous model. A car’s success is the result of a successful challenge, a flash of stylistic intuition sustained by studies into new fashion trends, customers’ emerging needs and projections regarding market performance. In other words, a difficult recipe, which is then tested by the strictest judge: time.
Real success lasts for years. This was evident with the Punto: from 1993 to the present day, over six million people in Europe have bought the car, and twenty-five international juries have rewarded it. Even though the Grande Punto makes its debut, manufacture and marketing of the Punto currently on the market will continue, with petrol, diesel and methane versions, and particularly advantageous offers.
Like the previous model, the Grande Punto plays the same trump card: listening to customers and making sure the product evolves to meet their needs. Consistent with the first and most important demand put forward by any customer who buys a car, the new model will offer ’value’ above all. This has always been one of the strengths of the Fiat Punto, which has led its segment, one where a huge number of new cars have been launched in recent years. Competition is obviously fierce, ready to enter the fray with every means. But this model has never lost ground, competing at the highest levels and always offering an extra something: safety, value for money and a good performance/consumption balance, and constantly striving for innovation. This is of course Fiat’s mission: an Italian company that builds cars with original styling and a wealth of intelligent solutions that are therefore capable of guaranteeing a better quality of everyday life. And today the Grande Punto takes up the baton with the precise goal of respecting this ideal commitment made to motorists.
The communications policy planned for this original model addresses a young, dynamic public using a fresh, immediate language. One result is the ’Mr. Dot’ logo, a cheerful P-shaped pictogram which changes appearance according to the situation: from a driver to a little man on skis. There are 50 possible transformations, each with a different personality, the expression of the concept of "moving passion" that lies behind the Grande Punto project: if on one hand the new model represents the passion shown by Fiat and its employees for cars, speed and racing, on the other, it is also the spirit of a customer who is attracted by the values of beauty, dynamism, colour, passion and movement. 19 versions have been created, by combining 2 body types (3 or 5 doors), 4 outfits, 6 engines, 13 body colours and 12 types of interior, all at an interesting price. The Grande Punto is also ’great’ because of its price, which is almost identical to that of today’s Punto with the difference that, for the same investment, customers will enjoy a car at the peak of its category with lavish, cutting-edge equipment.
A precise response to every need
Styling, emotion, comfort, safety and a good price: these are the guidelines along which the Grande Punto was developed; a car created for young adults, the very young, new active women, and small modern families. To meet the requirements of this heterogeneous public, the Grande Punto proposes typically Italian styling, the symbol of character and refinement, in two bodies: a 3-door version that is more aggressive and dynamic, and will appeal above all to the young, and a 5-door version that exalts the balance between styling and comfort, performance and safety, access and its distinctive look.
Both versions share a broad, comprehensive range with four specification levels, each capable of satisfying different customers who share the same youthful, dynamic spirit. The Active outfit addresses the younger driver, people full of vitality with an open, flexible mentality; the Dynamic version is the right response for those who combine an emotional and a rational approach, while the Grande Punto Emotion is ideal for the motorist who is looking for the equipment of a higher category and excellent comfort in a compact. And finally, the Sport version will certainly appeal to customers who want excellent performance and distinctive styling features.
So it is not exaggerated to state that everyone will find the Grande Punto he is looking for, customising it with the many options on offer, and taking advantage of the innovative financial and insurance services created specifically, and the many interesting accessories available from Lineaccessori. Nor can we overlook the fact that other novelties are in the pipeline for the Grande Punto, where the engines and the info-telematic systems are concerned. One example? An amazing rally version which will be presented in a few days time at the Frankfurt International
A car that arouses strong emotions; a sleek, aggressive line, and conveys an impression of elegance and compactness. And the Grande Punto combines this intrinsic beauty with the comfort, practicality and usability of a car from a higher segment. For example, it is extremely roomy, with excellent front visibility, easy access and a capacious luggage compartment. Where quality is concerned, the Grande Punto is stylish and refined because of the colour combinations and the innovative materials employed, painstaking attention to detail and the choice of fabrics, imparting a great sense of solidity and compactness.
Italian styling for a new conception of sportiness
Developed by Italdesign-Giugiaro with the Fiat Style Centre, the styling of the Grande Punto is an intriguing mixture of aggressiveness and power, combined with ’restraint’ and elegance. A sporty, flowing line that communicates strength and agility while showing off its refinement.
The strong character of the Grande Punto is evident in the car’s sleek, aggressive nose which conveys an incredibly real dynamism. It is a striking front end, worthy of a small GT, into which the elongated headlights are set with an original tension. The impression is strong: vivaciousness, attention-getting, a touch of transgression and a mysterious appeal. The rear end is softer and rounder, and it balances the aggressive front end. The car communicates its more reassuring character at the rear, reiterating the concepts of stability, solidity and strength.
The final result is a balanced line which meets demands for drive and rationale, where the values of sportiness, refinement and beauty all coexist harmoniously. The styling of the Grande Punto is rooted in the traditions of Italian motoring, a legendary history re-interpreted in a modern key and absolutely new in the current scenario.
Front The line of the Grande Punto reinterprets the image of previous models in a dynamic, sporty key, combining hitherto irreconcilable elements. This is borne out by the aggressive front that is modelled to respect the canons of pedestrian impact protection. The approach, of both the composition and the modelling, is the fruit of careful analysis and is developed to respect the latest standards, which envisage more rounded volumes, a wider bonnet and tapered bumper structure, perceptible above all in the plane view, keeping the area of impact to a minimum.
The windscreen and the bonnet are pronounced and homogeneous: because there is no clear break between the two elements (an accentuated bonnet and sharply raked glass) they are perceived almost on the same line, a characteristic that highlights the sporty nature of the Grande Punto. In line with the requirements of the latest standards, the grille highlights the break between the bonnet and the front bumper, which tapers off as it links up with the wheelarches.
A rib starts from foglights which flow into the sides, as you would expect from a sports car, linking them to the lower air intake at the centre. And there is a rib between the headlight and the foglight which lightens the wing and reiterates the same graphic feature. And the faired headlights are also stretched and elongated towards the side, to suggest sportiness and dynamism.
Side view From the side, a ’groove’ runs all along the side, starting from the middle of the wheelarch and blending into the rear end on the tailgate. The door handles are aligned with the same groove, while the fuel filler cap, no longer rectangular but round, is positioned slightly lower down. The Grande Punto has another feature that sets it apart from previous models, whether 3 or 5-door: a third window in front of the front door and the extremely sporty mirror which was designed to increase the aerodynamic effect of the pillar.
Attention is drawn to the large wheels by the emphatic strong, muscular wheelarches, which give a feeling of strength and solidity. And finally, the edge of the sill under the doorway protects occupants from any splashes and spray, creating a balanced, harmonious effect together with the rear bumper, and the protruding edge under the number plate holder. Rear Continuing the tradition established with the first Punto, the new model has faired vertical light clusters incorporated in the two rear pillars, where they are protected and visible. These devices have three distinct functions, achieved by their very design which also suggest enhanced aerodynamics. The muscular rear gives a powerful imprint to the car, underlining its sporty character. The tapered roof terminates at the rear with a ’spoiler’ effect between the two rear pillars, incorporating the central brake light. And the wrapround bumper incorporates the number plate so that the panel below the rear window is uncluttered, highlighting the only important graphic effect: the Fiat logo. And finally, the rear reflectors are built into the foglights in the lower part of the rear bumper which creates a sort of aerodynamic spoiler.
The styling underlines the sportiness of this strong-minded, lively, exuberant car, one that likes attention, reflecting the new market trend for this segment, and catering for the wishes of an increasingly discerning, demanding public. While on the outside the Grande Punto reflects a new concept of sportiness, on the inside it combines the practicality and exploitability of the interior with quality and elegance. The result is an amazing amount of room, and comfort well above what one would expect from a car in this segment in terms of ergonomics and space for the driver and passengers.
In terms of quality, the Grande Punto is elegantly and painstakingly finished, giving a strong impression of solidity and compactness. Nor can we overlook the fact that the styling, materials and quality fabric are all enhanced by the colour combinations that increase the elegance and stylishness of the interior, emphasising the lively, dynamic nature. The Active and Dynamic specifications offer a choice of 3 interior environments available in three colours, while the Emotion and Sport outfits offer 2 environments in 2 different shades. And the Grande Punto customer can also request stylish or sporty leather upholstery.
Ergonomics and roominess from the top of the class
The welcoming, practical Grande Punto offers a generous amount of interior space and roominess that are unbeatable in this segment: as the exterior dimensions suggest: it is 4,030 mm long, 1,687 mm wide, and 1,490 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,510 mm. The new model is comfortable to travel in, with all occupants enjoying a perceptible level of general well-being on board. To achieve this goal, from the start of the Grande Punto project, the designers adopted the most up-to-date ergonomic criteria to define the parameters that measure a car’s ability to meet the demand for well-being and comfort on board. The end result is the fact that the Grande Punto achieves excellent values for the essential ergonomic functions: roominess, driving posture, and access.
These features have always been winners, and today they become even more important, because we are spending more time in our cars, we are more accustomed to higher segment cars (which are therefore more spacious), and the average height of the population is increasing. For example, because it is possible to raise the driver’s seat and adjust the height and reach of the steering wheel (drivers between 1.50 and 2 metres in height can be accommodated easily), roominess on the front seats is excellent and every driver will find a position that is ideal for him.
Even if the driver is very tall, an equally tall passenger can still sit comfortably behind him. And the luggage compartment remains extremely capacious: 275 litres in the normal configuration. The roominess inside the Grande Punto is the result of the good balance between the various volumes of the passenger compartment: the parameters for the posture, the driving position and the passenger seats in the various configurations, and the model’s overall roominess. The ’space-comfort combination’ calculation shows that the interior of the Grande Punto has a very regular design, which means that the volume can be exploited extremely well with four passengers. What is more, the front seats of the new model are equally comfortable for small or tall people, thanks to the many possible adjustments of the steering wheel and front seat.
Comfort on the rear seats is almost independent of the adjustment of the front seats; even when tall people are sitting in the front, legroom and living space for the rear seats remains very good. The result achieved on the Grande Punto is excellent for its category: it can accommodate front passengers 186 centimetres tall and rear passengers 182 cm tall simultaneously, providing both with a generous amount of space.
Driving is made extremely enjoyable by the position of the pedals, the steering wheel alignment, the position of the armrest and footrest, the handling of the gear lever and the full visibility of the instrumentation and the main controls. This enjoyment is highlighted by the well shaped, enveloping seats, which support the body even in the most dynamic driving situations. And finally, "being comfortable on board" means having plenty of room, and above all room where you need it; it means being able to get in and out of the car easily and comfortably, and once you are sitting down, it means being surrounded by an airy environment, and enjoying good external visibility, enhanced by the generous door mirrors. In all these areas, the Grande Punto fears no rivals in its market bracket.
One expects not only enjoyable driving but also a sense of well-being on board a Fiat car. This means surrounding the driver and passengers with technologies that guarantee the highest levels of acoustic and climatic comfort. The result is a hushed, enveloping interior environment without vibration, thanks to the painstaking soundproofing and the high torsional and flexural rigidity of the bodyshell. The Grande Punto also offers ’dual-zone’ automatic climate control, three levels of audio system (Hi-Fi, Hi-Fi with subwoofer and an ’Interscope’ Hi-Fi sound system), comfortable, functional seats, an instrument panel that makes the information easily and immediately available, a large, panoramic opening sunroof, and a hands-free telephone system with Bluetooth technology. In other words, the new car fears no rivals where comfort is concerned. And the Grande Punto offers the best the market has to offer in terms of automatic devices that make driving less tiring, such as Cruise Control, a rain sensor and a parking aid. Last but not least, the new model offers a tyre pressure sensor and other interesting features that make travelling in the Grande Punto an extremely comfortable experience. NVH comfort (Noise-Vibration-Harshness) The Grande Punto has achieved a high standard of comfort, which translates into quiet, vibration-free driving, thanks to a particularly rigid bodyshell structure. The car leads its category for torsional and flexural rigidity; on the 3-door version torsional rigidity is 113,000 daNm/rad (93,100 daNm/rad for the 5-door), while flexural rigidity is 1.320 daNm/rad (1,270 daNm/rad on the 5-door).
Particular attention also went into the rigid attachment of all the mechanical parts, and to the suspension which was designed to achieve the best possible results in terms of handling and comfort in all conditions. Climate system The climate in the passenger compartment is one of the main comfort factors on the road, and it is also an important element in preventive safety, because temperature, humidity and ventilation affect the driver’s well-being and therefore his attention level. But the heating and ventilation system is also responsible for demisting the windscreen and side windows. This is why the new model is offered with a choice between three heating systems: a conventional heater, a manual climate system, and an automatic dual-zone system. The latter includes an elecronic control unit that governs the temperature, airflow and distribution, and activates the compressor and recirculation function. The system also implements an ’equivalent temperature’ climate control strategy.
A number of sensors register the indoor and outdoor temperature and evaluate the sensation of thermal well-being perceived by the passenger, i.e. the energy exchange between the human body and the passenger compartment, which is affected by the humidity, the temperature and the flow of treated air. Another sensor, positioned centrally at the base of the windscreen, measures the solar radiation in the vehicle and the angle at which the rays hit the passenger compartment. It ensures that the sun’s rays do not cause the interior temperature to climb too high, by informing the climate system. The dual-zone device can provide two different temperatures and air flows simultaneously: one on the right of the passenger compartment, and another on the left.
Radio and Hi-Fi system The audio equipment on the new model is particularly interesting, with a choice of two radios and three audio systems (Hi-Fi, Hi-Fi with subwoofer and an ’Interscope’ Hi-Fi Sound System). The audio systems have 6 speakers and all share the same painstaking design of the features and the layout of the speakers, which was studied and calibrated specifically to the passenger compartment. The first level, with a 40W output, features two tweeters close to the door handles, two woofers on the front doors and two full-range speakers in the rear side panels. The second Hi-Fi system has the same features plus a subwoofer in the luggage compartment (with 100W bass-reflex amplification), for a warmer sound and better listening; the third level increases the power amplification with four 60W musical channels, plus a specific calibration of the 6 speakers and the subwoofer (100W bass-reflex amplification), which produces amazing listening in terms of performance and dynamism. This system was developed with Interscope, a prestigious Universal Music brand.
All 3 systems have 6 speakers manufactured with Water Resistant technology. There is a choice of two radios (available with CD or CD-MP3 file player) which are incorporated ergonomically into the design of the dashboard. They are positioned in the upper part of the facia (the best position for the driver) where they are easily reached by the passenger, but they can also be adjusted using the controls on the steering wheel. Both include RDS (Radio Data System), the TA (traffic information) function, and PTY (the code by which radio stations indicate the type of programmes broadcast, so that the system can automatically select only the type of music preferred by the listener). Every time the radio is turned on, it adopts the volume setting in place when it was turned off, while another device automatically corrects the equalisation on the basis of the speed of the car. The driver can also choose between ’pre-set equalised effects’, or set and memorise the sound parameters he prefers. And finally, on request, Lineaccessori offers a CD-changer that is positioned in the luggage compartment and operated using the radio controls.
Seats The front and rear seats of the Grande Punto were designed to guarantee the best comfort for every passenger percentile. This was made possible by working closely with the best Italian ergonomics and sports medicine specialists. To enhance comfort and vibration absorption, the front seats have a new lumbar support system that sustains the back better. And the front seats are filled with special foam that adapts to the shape of the body, and have an ’anti-submarining’ structure that prevents the body from sliding forward under the seat-belt in the event of a violent head-on collision. The front seats have the following adjustments: height, longitudinal (with a stroke of 240 mm), squab rake (with a knob for continuous step adjustment), and lumbar (with an electric control). And finally, the height of the head-restraints also adjusts, and they can be fitted with an anti-whiplash system on request, which brings the head-restraint closer to the neck of the occupant in the event of a crash.
Depending on the version, the rear seats have a fixed or 40-60 split squab. They also incorporate an anti-submarining structure and "differentiated thickness" padding, that varies with the area of the seat (this is a parameter that measures the ability of the padding to yield under the weight of the body). The rear seats are fitted with Isofix anchorage points to transport child seats, while head-restraints are standard on the rear side seats (the centre head-restraint is optional). The 3-door Grande Punto offers homologation for two rear passengers as standard (a third passenger on request) highlighting the sporty character of the high containment seats, whereas the 5-door version is homologated for 3 rear passengers. Instrument panel The instrument panel is incorporated in a dashboard with soft lines that harmonise stylistically with those of the facia. The large, visible digits of the graphics ensure that the information is easily and immediately legible. At night-time, legibility is guaranteed by the orange lighting, a shade that helps the eyes to focus more rapidly when passing from the darkness outside to the luminous dashboard.
The instrumentation is available in two different versions and incorporates a number of important functions. For example, the multifunction display which gives access to different menus and sub-menus. They speak the driver’s language (with a choice of Italian, English, German, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Flemish and Polish) and allow him to use numerous functions, which include the time, date, programmable beep, radio data display, check control, etc. Plus the trip computer, which provides a set of data regarding previous journeys and the current journey, consumption (both instant and average), average speed, remaining range, travelling time (from the start of the journey), and mileage travelled. Panoramic sunroof The Grande Punto is made all the more enjoyable by a large sunroof, which occupies practically the entire roof of the car, and comprises two glass panels - a fixed one at the rear and a mobile panel at the front with electric drive. There is also a deflector at the front that was designed in the wind tunnel to eliminate all aerodynamic turbulence, even at high speed, which significantly enhances comfort. Inside, there are two sunshades which slide independently towards the rear of the car.
The panoramic roof gives occupants a different relationship with the surrounding environment, in which they can enjoy the luminosity and sense of freedom that comes from the large window. The system allows the roof to be kept closed with the sunshade open to illuminate the passenger compartment. And to create the sensation of travelling in an open car, it takes just seven seconds to open the front glazed panel entirely, and to enjoy a real ’window on the sky’. Hands-free system with voice recognition The Grande Punto offers a sophisticated hands-free system with voice recognition for total safety in all conditions, as well as respect for the law, because the driver can use it without taking his hands off the wheel. The system allows a driver with a Bluetooth mobile ’phone to use the telephone even if it is in a pocket or a handbag, automatically lowering the volume of the radio if this is on, and using the loudspeakers of the stereo system to amplify the other person’s voice. What is more, the system is compatible with the latest cell phones and can be updated to new standards and to future telephones.
The hands-free telephone on the Grande Punto is perfectly integrated into the car and the control keys are located on the steering wheel; this allows immediate, safe access to the system, so that the driver can look up a number in the phone book using the control panel display, or ’mute’ a call for greater confidentiality. The peculiarities of the system include the fact that it is only necessary to register one’s cell phone with the system once, and the fact that one’s personal address book can be transferred to the car, and therefore updated automatically every time the system recognises a cell phone, guaranteeing privacy by exclusive access from the registered telephone that contains the address book.
The onboard monitor displays the number or the name of the person calling if the name is in the phone book, and a number can be dialled ’aloud’ by dictating it digit by digit or by pronouncing the person’s name if it is memorised.
And thanks to an advanced voice recognition process, the system does not have to learn the voice. It can manage and memorise up to 5 mobile phones simultaneously, allowing several people in the same car to use the hands-free device; obviously the programme can be modified whenever necessary. And finally, with the ’voice recognition hands-free system’ it is possible to reproduce a personal ring tone on the radio.
Behind the strong personality of its styling, the Grande Punto offers a comprehensive range of excellent engines featuring advanced technology and generous performance. There are two petrol engines (1.2 8v delivering 65 bhp and the 1.4 8v delivering 77 bhp) and four Multijet turbodiesel units: the 75 bhp or 90 bhp 1.3 16v, and the 120 bhp or 130 bhp 1.9 8v. Each has different features which are exploited in full in combination with 5 or 6 speed mechanical gearboxes, which stand out for their generosity, sparkling character, high performance and sophisticated technology. The features they share are outstanding reliability and respect for the environment: all the engines respect Euro 4 emissions limits. All the Grande Punto engines are built by Fiat Powertrain Technologies, the Group’s new operating sector. FPT groups together all Fiat Auto’s activities in the fields of innovation, research, planning and production of engines and gearboxes for all types of application, from cars to commercial vehicles, boats and agricultural machinery. More than 3000 work in the FPT research centres in eight different countries and they help to make this sector a great centre of technological excellence and constant innovation.
Diesel engines: the history of Fiat’s achievements
The 75 bhp and 90 bhp 1.3 16v Multijet
The Fiat Punto could not fail to mount the 1.3 16v Multijet - the smallest and most advanced second generation direct injection Common rail diesel engine - now with an important novelty: a new version with a variable geometry turbo is making its debut. With this turboboost system, the 1.3 16v Multijet delivers a power output of 90 bhp (66 kW at 4000 rpm) and peak torque of 20.4 kgm (200 Nm at 1750 rpm). That is not all. With the 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet, the Grande Punto achieves outstanding performance: it has a top speed of 175 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 11.9 seconds. Even consumption is among the lowest in this segment: 5.9 l/100 km in the urban cycle, 3.9 l/100 km out of town and 4.6 l/100 km in the mixed cycle. The new engine differs not only for the different turboboost system (on the 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet it is provided by a fixed geometry turboblower), but also for other changes. The combustion system has been modified, increasing the permeability of the inlet and exhaust manifolds, reducing turbulence in the combustion chamber and varying the geometry and the compression ratio from 18:1 to 17.6:1. The emissions control system envisages an EGR valve with electric actuation managed directly by the engine control system, a heat exchanger to cool the recirculating exhaust gas (EGR), and a ’close coupled’ catalytic converter, which guarantees respect for EC Phase 4 emissions limits.
The performance of the 1.3 Multijet is also excellent; it delivers a power output of 75 bhp (55 kW at 4000 rpm) and peak torque of 19.4 kgm (190 Nm at 1750 rpm). With this engine the Grande Punto has a top speed of 165 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 13.6 seconds, with excellent combustion: 5.9 l/100 km in the urban cycle, 4.0 l/100 km out of town and 4.7 l/100 km in the mixed cycle.
These are the differences between the 75 bhp and the 90 bhp versions. On the other hand they both share the engine architecture: 4 cylinders in line, 1248 cc, with a bore of 69.6 mm and a ’long’ stroke of 82 mm. There are four valves per cylinder, driven directly by twin overhead camshafts via rocker fingers with a roller. That is not all. The 1.3 Multijet 16v is a masterpiece of technology in miniature: complete with all its accessories, it weighs just 130 kg, and is also small in size, just 50 centimetres long and 65 centimetres high, with the components laid out to take up as little space as possible.
Designed to criteria of maximum rationality, efficiency and reliability, the engine is capable of excellent performance, and is practically built ’for life’: it was designed to travel 250,000 km without any maintenance to the mechanical components. What is more, the oil change intervals have been extended from 20,000 to 30,000 km (the 1.3 Multijet 16v uses low viscosity oil, which means more fuel economy, and it respects the environment).
This compact, technologically sophisticated engine is also environment-friendly, because it meets Euro 4 emissions limits even without a particulate trap, which is available on request for certain markets.
The 1.3 Multijet 16v (whether 75 or 90 bhp) therefore represents a real leap forward in technological terms, and this translates into lower fuel consumption and emissions for the customer. Without even considering the increased quietness (due to the multiple injections), the enhanced comfort (fewer alternating masses mean less vibration), the smoothness and enjoyment of driving it (due to the extremely smooth torque delivery, that comes from better control over combustion), elasticity and the prompt response of a diesel unit which resembles a petrol engine because of the vast rev range (for example, the driver is no longer aware of the ’fuel cut-out’ just above 4000 rpm), the environment-friendly features that enhance the diesel’s great quality on the environmental front (consumption) and keep its main defect (particulate emissions) to a minimum.
The 120 bhp and 130 bhp 1.9 Multijet Both engines have 4 cylinders in line, and two valves per cylinder, with a bore of 82 mm and stroke of 90.4 mm. The first delivers 120 bhp (88 kW) at 4000 rpm and torque of 28.5 kgm (280 Nm) at 2000 rpm; the second delivers 130 bhp (96 kW) at 4000 rpm and torque of 28.5 kgm (280 Nm) at 2000 rpm. Several changes were made to the two engines to increase performance and engine torque at low speeds, and to reduce noise and vibration. For example, the "Common Rail" system envisages two automatic control strategies for the setting and balance of the injected diesel fuel, which reduces noise and vibration. The turboboost is provided by a variable geometry Garrett VGT 17 turboblower with electronic control that helps to improve the power delivery, but also generates very high torque at low engine speeds. In fact, 90% of peak torque is available between 1750 and 3250 rpm. These figures translate into extremely enjoyable driving and brilliant performance: powered by the 120 bhp 1.9 Multijet engine, the Grande Punto Emotion has a top speed of 190 km/h and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 10 seconds (the values for the Sport version with the 130 bhp 1.9 Multijet engine are 200 km/h and 9.5 seconds). Brilliant performance, but in spite of this, fuel consumption remains low: 7.5 l/100 km in the urban cycle, 4.5 out of town, and 5.6 in town (the values for the 130 bhp 1.9 Multijet are 7.6, 4.6 and 5.7).
Last but not least, both the 1.3 Multijet and the 1.9 Multijet mounted on the Grande Punto respect Euro 4 legislation and offer a particulate trap (DPF), a ’for life’ system that eliminates fine dust and does not need additives to regenerate it. The Multijet system on the second generation JTD engines The Multijet turbodiesel engines mounted on the Grande Punto are jewels of modern engineering which confirm Fiat Auto’s leadership in this field. When it developed the Multijet system, the Fiat Group set an important new record in the field of diesel engines, made possible by the huge amount of expertise accumulated since 1986, when the Croma TDI was launched, the world’s first direct injection diesel-engined car. For those years it was a brilliant result, the first important step forward towards more efficient combustion in the field of diesel engines for cars.
Thanks to this technology, which other manufacturers soon adopted, diesel-engined cars were able to guarantee both better performance and lower consumption. One problem remained: the excessive noise made by the engine at low speeds and in ’speed transients’. This is where the history of the Unijet starts, or rather the search for a more evolved direct injection system, which could drastically reduce the problem of noisy combustion. After a few years, this research produced the Unijet, but it also brought other advantages in terms of performance and consumption. There were only two possible ways of solving the problem: passive acceptance, isolating the engine to prevent the sound waves from spreading, or working actively to eliminate the problem at source, developing an injection system that could reduce combustion noise. Having chosen the second strategy, the Fiat engineers immediately concentrated their research on the ’Common Rail’ principle, excluding other high pressure injection systems after careful analysis.
The other systems did not allow the pressure to be managed independently of the rpm and the engine load, nor did they envisage pre-injection, the two strengths of the Unijet. The theory that the engineers started to analyse was both simple and ingenious, the fruit of work done by researchers at Zurich University, which had never been applied on a car. By continuing to push diesel fuel into a tank, pressure builds up inside the tank, which thus becomes a hydraulic accumulator, or ’rail’, in other words a reserve of pressurised fuel, ready to use.
Pre-industrialisation of the Unijet, the system developed by Magneti Marelli, Centro Ricerche Fiat and Elasis on the basis of the Common Rail principle, began three years later, in 1990. This stage was concluded in 1994, when Fiat Auto decided to choose a partner with great experience in the field of injection systems for diesel engines. The project was therefore sold to Robert Bosch for the final part of the work, i.e. completion of the development process and industrialisation. In October 1997, eleven years after the Croma TDI, another record-setting car went on the market: the Alfa 156 JTD equipped with a revolutionary turbodiesel engine that gave hitherto unimaginable results. The cars equipped with this engine were incredible quiet, with a sparkling response on a par with that of a petrol engine and performance levels that were 12% higher than those of a similar pre-combustion engine, as well as 15% lower consumption. The success of the Alfa 156 with the JTD engine was immediate, and very soon not only was it being used on other Fiat Auto models, but numerous other car-makers were adopting similar engines. Now it is the turn of the second generation of JTD engines, the Multijet multivalve units.
The underlying principles of second generation turbodiesel engines remain those of the Common Rail, i.e. high injection pressure and electronic injector control. But one extra feature has been added: during each engine cycle, the number of injections increases over and above the current number of two. In this way, the same amount of diesel is burnt inside the cylinder but in several portions to achieve smoother combustion. The advantages include lower running noise, reduced emissions and a 6-7% increase in performance. All this comes with a level of engine efficiency that improves car handling still further.
These results are not to be underestimated, particularly because they are obtained with an engine that represents an incredible leap forward from pre-chamber diesels and even improves on first generation JTD engines.
The secret of the Multijet engine lies in the control unit that governs the electric injector opening and closure system (and also in the injectors themselves). The crucial element is the electronic control unit itself that can perform a set of injections that may be very closely spaced.
Fiat Auto’s researchers developed the part (together with the injectors) especially for this application. It is designed to deliver the multiple injections that assure more accurate control of pressures and temperatures developed inside the combustion chamber and also more efficient use of air taken into the cylinders. This enables further goals to be achieved: quieter combustion, reduced emissions and increased performance.
The Multijet system is underpinned by long years of research. Our engineers began by resolving the problem of the limits imposed by the control units. Then they went on to map the benefits they could achieve by plotting different multiple injection sequences (two secondary injections very close to the main injection; one secondary injection not too close to the main injection plus two closely-spaced secondary injections; one secondary injection and then two main injections close together after a certain period, etc.) against different engine service conditions: in the idling region; with low loads and low rpm; with high rpm and moderate load; with low rpm and high load, etc..
The study revealed the potential of the system and showed that great benefits are achievable in all cases, though these tend to focus on one field or another according to the type of sequence chosen and the engine service area targeted. In some cases, for example, the priority is to reduce start-up times and fume levels, in other cases it is to increase torque and reduce noise while in others still it is to reduce emissions and ensure a quieter drive. And now this research strand has led to the creation of the Multijet engines, including the brand new 90 bhp 1.3 JTD Multijet 16v which debuts on the Grande Punto.
The novelties in the Fire family
The 65 bhp 1.2 Fire 8v The tried and tested 1242 cc Fire engine makes its debut on the Fiat Punto with a number of refinements designed to make it a champion of thriftiness where consumption is concerned, but without detracting from performance. The engine delivers 48 kW (65 bhp) at 5500 rpm and takes the car to a top speed of 155 km/h.
That is not all. With the 1.2 8v engine, the new car has very low fuel consumption, among the best in its category. The merit goes to the engine configuration, which aims to achieve generous torque at very low revs (with benefits in terms of enjoyment and elasticity), and to the ratios chosen to optimise the balance between performance and consumption. The result is torque of 10.4 kgm (102 Nm) at 3000 rpm and consumption of 7.9 l/100 km (urban cycle), 5.1 l/100 km (out of town) and 6.1 l/100 (combined cycle). Interesting results which were achieved with a few effective improvements. For example, new inlet and exhaust manifolds, a new combustion chamber (with the compression ratio now 11:1), and new cam profiles to optimise the fluid dynamics of the engine, thus improving efficiency.
Also with the target of reducing consumption, the engineers chose an active knock sensor, capable of managing the advance efficiently in all conditions and, above all, the Marelli phased sequential multipoint injection system, which was only available on more sophisticated engines until a short time ago. The new model adopts a ’drive by wire’ system which eliminates the mechanical link between the accelerator pedal and the throttle valve, significantly improving the torque delivery on the basis of the driver’s demands, translating it into benefits for the customer in terms of driveability and consumption.
Where performance is concerned, we should underline the use of an electronic control system developed for the car and based on a new generation Marelli electronic control unit, capable of dialoguing in a network with the electronic devices on the car through serial lines.
The quality of life on board also improves as a result of the optimised performance of the inlet and exhaust systems, the optimisation of the coupling tolerance between the crankshaft and the crankcase, the computerised selection of the main bearings, and the development of a specific method to install the engine in the engine bay. This also reduced the amount of vibration transferred from the engine to the bodyshell. A special barycentre system was adopted to support the engine, with two blocks plus a reaction link that acts as a tie rod, with the result that the new supports are aligned on an axis that passes through the engine’s centre of gravity, to obtain reaction forces with a neutral link.
An efficient engine, and a clean engine. Where the environment is concerned, the 1.2 8v respects EC phase 4 anti-pollution standards, thanks to the new AISI steel exhaust manifold with a catalytic converter in the engine bay, welded on the flange of the exhaust manifold. The device is very efficient in this position, because it can reach high temperatures more rapidly, reducing emissions while the engine is still heating up. The equipment present on the Grande Punto 1.2 8v to reduce its environmental impact includes a returnless fuel supply system, which eliminates the recirculation of fuel inside the tank and reduces the formation of fumes.
And finally, to improve reliability the coils have been mounted close together in a single block. This new type of coil reduces shock absorber wear, making more energy available to ignite individual spark plugs because the lost spark has been eliminated, easier cold starts because more energy is available for the spark plug (more energy supplied by the coil and no losses during the high voltage transfers because very short cables are used) and, finally, a significantly reduced risk of interference to the onboard equipment from high voltage cables.
The 77 bhp 1.4 Fire 8v The new engine has a capacity of 1368 cc and four cylinders in line, with a bore of 72 mm and a stroke of 84 mm. There are two valves per cylinder, activated directly by the overhead camshaft.
The engine was developed paying particular attention to performance and consumption, areas in which the Fiat Punto leads its category. This is achieved as a result of the volumetric efficiency, which has been optimised throughout the operating range, thanks to careful fluid dynamic development of the entire inlet system and the timing. The result is a power output of 57 kW (77 bhp) at 6000 rpm and a peak torque of 11.7 kgm (115 Nm) at 3000 rpm. With this engine, the Fiat Punto has a top speed of 165 km/h, and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 13.2 seconds. Consumption figures are among the best in this segment: 7.7 l/100 km in the urban cycle, 5.2 l/100 km out of town, and 6.1 l/100 km in the mixed cycle.
An engine that is both brilliant and sparing on fuel. This performance is helped by the adoption of an electronic throttle valve control system known as ’drive by wire’, and in particular by the use of a new high turbulence combustion chamber which is combined with continuous variable valve timing, governed by the control unit. This innovative system allows a significant part (about 25%) of the exhaust gases to be recirculated in the combustion chamber, significantly reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions when driving with a partial load. Last but not least, like the 1.2 8v, this engine also features a number of changes designed to reduce consumption. For example, the timing components are lighter and the valve springs are of the low load type to reduce friction.
Another feature of the new 77 bhp 1.4 is the higher compression ratio (11:1) and the high torque delivery at low speeds, features that have made it possible to lower fuel consumption. This target was also achieved by the calibration of the latest generation engine control system, which managed to reduce consumption further, compatibly with the demand for handling, performance and low emissions. In the latter field, we should underline that the 77 bhp 1.4 Fire engine also respects Euro 4 standards, thanks to a catalytic converter positioned in the engine bay (welded onto the exhaust manifold flange using a new technology), and it reaches a high temperature very rapidly, cutting emissions even while the engine is heating up. The equipment on the new car to reduce its environmental impact includes a returnless fuel supply system, which eliminates the recirculation of fuel inside the tank and reduces the formation of fumes.
High performance, low consumption and cleanliness: the 77 bhp 1.4 combines these winning features with excellent acoustic comfort. In addition to the technical improvements described for the 1.2 Fire engine, this engine also features a flexible flywheel that reduces the vibration transmitted from the engine to the bodyshell.
Reliable, sophisticated gearboxes
A range of reliable, strong, sophisticated gearboxes was developed to match the engines available on the Grande Punto, and these components are an important aspect of enjoyment and comfort (robotised Dualogic gearboxes will also be available after the launch).
A new dual hose control was developed for all the gearboxes, to insulate vibration, guaranteeing more precise manoeuvring and quieter operation. It is a new generation, technologically advanced device, which uses high performance technopolymers extensively, on the basis of the different resistance, weight and self-lubricating characteristics. Plus the fact that bench testing in extreme climate conditions has helped to refine materials, couplings and processes, guaranteeing the utmost sturdiness and reliability of the product. What is more, the quality and reliability of these components is guaranteed by the painstaking care that goes into their assembly, during which all the components are pre-tested and all the ’values’ that define efficiency, elasticity and tolerances are measured electronically.
All versions adopt the hydraulic clutch disengagement control, with an external actuator on the 1.2 and 1.4 Fire and 1.3 Multijet engines, and a coaxial clutch release mechanism (CSC) on the 1.9 Multijet. The device, which has no external actuation components, increases the efficiency of the system throughout the life of the car and also insulates the noise and vibration coming from the engine. Compared to a hose control, the hydraulic control guarantees automatic adjustment of pedal wear; on the JTD versions, this system is combined with a device that takes up the clutch plate wear so that the load of the clutch pedal remains constant for the car’s entire life. To comply with European legislation to protect the environment, all versions, both petrol and diesel, adopt friction materials that only contain environment-friendly elements. And the clutch pump has a plastic body, which helps to lower the weight, a steel cylinder and a plastic piston. The 5-speed gearbox for the 1.2 8v and 1.4 8v engines Enhanced acoustic comfort, reduced engagement effort even when cold, and more precise gear engagement. These are the advantages of the C514 gearbox (a transverse configuration with two shafts in a cascade and one differential), which was optimised by changes to: the gears, synchronisers, lubrication, internal gear control and clutch control. Combined with the 5-speed Fire 1.2 8v and 1.4 8v engines, this version represents the maximum upgrade of the gearbox in terms of transmissible torque (15 kgm). The use of nobler materials for the gears, the adoption of a more powerful differential with larger conical gears and the screw connection between the housing and the crown all improve reliability. The main features are excellent manoeuvring of the gear lever, quiet operation and low weight.
What is more, the gearbox adopts a gear control which, thanks to stroke limiter selection, protects against the risk of involuntarily engaging reverse, and makes engagement of fifth and sixth speeds more precise. And finally, the use of gearing made of quality materials and of a completely redesigned differential, made it possible to strengthen the gearbox itself, which in this configuration can transmit up to 15 kgm of torque.
The most significant technical features are the gearing and clutch housings, which were optimised to lower the weight and to absorb noise better, using FEM (Finite Element Method) calculation techniques. Plus Borg-Warner free-ring synchronisation on all gears. And finally, a dual cone synchroniser on first and second, the gears used most frequently, with an engagement effort that is 40% lower than the effort required with a conventional single cone synchroniser.
The internal gear control system has four selection levels, with a central positioner and bearings. Lubrication is dynamic, and the oil flow is channelled through bore holes in the housing. The advantages are less wear and more efficient torque transmission, and manoeuvrability even at low temperatures. The 5-speed gearbox for the 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet engine The C510 is extremely easy to manoeuvre and very quiet. It has a transverse configuration with two shafts in a cascade and one differential. In this case too, the gearbox has been optimised, adopting a dual cone synchroniser on first and second, and a highly efficient reverse engagement control. Two improvements that guarantee the product’s excellence where manoeuvring is concerned. Lubrication is dynamic and the oil is channelled through bore holes in the housing and on the shafts. The maximum torque transmissible is 21 kgm.
The 6-speed gearbox for the 120 bhp and 130 bhp 1.9 Multijet engine and the 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet The M20 and M32 gearboxes belong to a new family of three-axis transmissions, designed to give better manoeuvring and to be more compact than traditional two-axis gearboxes. Available with 6 speeds, these two units can support high torque (230 Nm and 320 Nm), so they are the ideal for high performance diesel engines: the 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet (M20) and the 120 bhp and 130 bhp 1.9 Multijet (M32).
In this case too, the engineers’ goal was to improve acoustic comfort, to eliminate any vibration or shaking of the gearshift, and to reduce actuation and engagement effort even when the engine is cold. The gearbox (with three shafts and a built-in differential) has small axial measurements, and is easy to manoeuvre in all speeds, and extremely quiet. The credit goes to a number of innovative solutions that were already employed on earlier gearboxes, such as free ring synchronisers, dual-cone synchronisers on first and second, and dynamic lubrication.
The Grande Punto is an extremely enjoyable car to drive, thanks to the suspension that makes it handle very well, isolating it from the road, to a braking system that is powerful and effective in all situations, and to tyres that were studied specifically for the best comfort and maximum safety. And last but not least, "Dualdrive" electric power steering is available on all versions. The new suspension on the Grande Punto One of the goals set by the engineers who worked on the ’Grande Punto’ project was to create a suspension system capable of offering performance comparable to that of upmarket cars. Devices that could guarantee easy, precise steering, excellent roadholding and the highest possible level of comfort for passengers. The choice went to two systems that have been tried and tested on other Fiat models, suitably modified and updated. The overall review of the geometries entailed the following changes:
compared to the previous Punto, the tracks are wider and the tyres are larger (from 175/65 15" to 205/45 17");
the geometry of the front suspension adopts lower links in a right-angled triangle, a solution that effectively separates the braking loads from the cornering loads to guarantee the best balance in all driving conditions. The new front geometry also allows the car’s turning circle to be limited: on average it is about 10.6 metres, a value that leads its category and is very similar to that of the previous Punto, in spite of the larger wheels and longer wheelbase;
the rear suspension is semi-independent and features interconnected wheels with a torsion axle designed to increase structural rigidity and to increase the flexibility of the suspension under load, by optimising the bushes between the rear axle and the bodyshell. The design for the new suspension also considered the shape of the buffer pads to improve the dynamic response when cornering;
particular attention went into the design of any components related to comfort on the car, adopting technical solutions typical of higher segments. For example, the use of a ’dual-path’ front strut mount on the front, and the position of the vertical damper at the rear; these changes made it possible to limit the effect of the vibration generated by the road surface, without altering the structural rigidity or losing steering accuracy;
the size of the elastic bushes has been increased to filter out road roughness and to enhance comfort;
on all versions, the dampers have been fitted with a 22 mm shaft to increase stability when cornering;
the structural rigidity of the front crossbeam on which the suspension is anchored has been increased, in order to enhance vibrational and acoustic comfort;
and finally, compared to the previous Punto, the track has been increased on both the front and the rear suspension, to adapt to the new model’s larger external size and to improve stability: an average of 70 mm at the front and 75 mm at the rear.
The Grande Punto has independent suspension on which the damper and the spring act as both damping, elastic elements and as structural, cinematic elements.
The main components of this structural system are the twin-shell pressed metal wishbones (with the patented ’butterfly’ layout) made of pressed sheet metal rather than cast iron as on the previous model, with a significant weight saving; and the adoption of bushes with a larger amount of rubber than on the Punto, to enhance comfort (absorbing small bumps) without detracting from the excellent roadholding and stability on corners.
The new model also introduces a number of really interesting ideas:
an extremely rigid front suspension crossbeam with a transverse linking strap close to the front link attachments;
reinforced uprights for better roadholding when cornering;
’dual-path’ double front strut mounts to filter the vibration from the road better, while ensuring a high level of structural rigidity which enhances steering precision;
anti-roll bar with small con rods to anchor it to the dampers, which enhances efficiency and ensures prompt dynamic response when cornering;
coil springs that adopt the ’side-load’ technique to optimise the thrust axis, so as to reduce the tangential loads on the damper shaft and thus any internal friction (system ysteresis), so that surface roughness can be absorbed better;
all the versions fit dual rate telescopic hydraulic dampers with a shaft diameter of 22 mm, to increase lateral rigidity and improve cornering. They also fit new improved valve units that optimise vibration damping;
and finally, the upper strut attachment to the bodyshell has been made stiffer, to improve acoustic and vibrational comfort.
Rear suspension This is of the semi-independent type, with wheels connected by a rear torsion axle, a layout that has been optimised since the previous Punto. Starting with the bodyshell attachments which have been widened and optimised in terms of the torsion element, making it possible to increase structural rigidity in spite of the lower weight.
What is more, the particular shape of the torsion element (the thickness of which varies with the version) has made it possible to achieve optimal anti-roll values, even without an anti-roll bar.
That is not all. The vertical layout of the dampers, which are attached to the bodyshell inside the wheelarch, has enhanced the filtering of surface roughness, which improves acoustic comfort in the passenger compartment. The rear axle structure is made up of lateral links pressed in two half-shells welded to a lateral torsion element which has a cylindrical butt join on the links. And finally, the larger rear axle anchorage bushes support a higher longitudinal flexibility of the suspension under load, while the particular shape of the buffer pads ensures a prompt dynamic response when cornering.
Braking system and large tyres
In line with its high active safety targets, the Grande Punto is equipped with highly efficient, extremely sensitive braking systems. First of all the braking system is backed up by the most sophisticated electronic and mechanical aids - ABS with EBD, ESP complete with ASR/MSR, Hill-holder, HBA (with ESP) - and it is of the servo-assisted hydraulic type, with two independent, cross-over circuits (each circuit governs a front wheel and the diagonally opposite rear wheel) to guarantee braking and stability even if one circuit should fail.
Throughout the range, the car is equipped with ventilated disc brakes on the front wheels, with drums or discs at the rear to match the weight and power of each engine. The 1.4 8v and 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet are available with ventilated 257 x 22 mm disc brakes and 228 mm rear drums (203 mm on the 1.2 8v). The 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet and the 120 bhp 1.9 Multijet adopt 284 x 22 mm ventilated discs; 228 mm rear drums for the 90 bhp 1.3 Multijet and a solid 264 x 11 mm disc for the 1.9 Multijet.
And finally, the tyres for the Grande Punto were chosen so as to obtain the best compromise between handling and comfort. To optimise the car’s performance, and roadholding, safety and comfort in particular, 175/65 R15, 185/65 R15, 195/55 R16 and 205/45 R17 tyres were chosen, depending on the outfit. For the 175/65 and 185/65 tyres a 15" sheet metal rim was chosen with a 6" dovetail groove, and a new design, made of high yield steel which optimises the weight without affecting performance. The Grande Punto offers a wide choice of 16" and 17" alloys which differ in style, size and paintwork.
’Dualdrive’ electric power steering
The servo-assisted steering has two functioning logics, and exploits the power generated by an electric motor rather than that of a hydraulic pump driven directly by the engine. With electrical power steering, the steering response is linked to the car’s own speed: the higher the speed the lower the effect of the servo, and the greater the effort on the steering wheel, the more precise the steering.
That is not all. This electrical servo-assist is also innovative because it offers the driver an extra choice, between two different setting programs. The first guarantees the best understanding between the driver and the car, so it is ideal on mixed out of town routes. The second makes the steering lighter and thus requires less effort, and is perfect in town and when parking. The latter is engaged by pressing the ’city’ key at the centre of the facia. And if the driver forgets to deactivate the device when he enters the motorway, he does not need to worry. To guarantee maximum safety at all times, the two programs have the same level of servo assist above 30 km/h, so that the response of the steering wheel is suitable for high speeds.
Cruise Control Cruise Control is a system that helps the driver to manage the car’s travelling speed, enhancing travelling comfort, and it is available on the Grande Punto. The device governs the throttle valve directly, so that the cruising speed set by the driver is maintained automatically. All the driver has to do is to turn the ring nut on the lever to the left of the steering wheel to the ’ON’ position, shifting it towards ’plus’ (or ’minus’) until it reaches the desired speed. When the ring nut is released, the car will continue to travel at the memorised speed without the driver having to press the accelerator.
Cruise Control can operate throughout the range of rev speeds permitted by the engine, but only for speeds above 40 km/h. So it is advisable to use the device with road conditions that allow the memorised speed to be maintained safely.
If the driver presses the accelerator (for example, to overtake), Cruise Control is momentarily deactivated even though the system remains active. The car responds to the accelerator, but as soon as the pedal is released, the system will return to the memorised speed. For obvious safety reasons, the device is automatically deactivated when the driver presses the brake or clutch pedal. In this case it is necessary to press the ’RESUME’ button, on the end of the Cruise Control lever, to return to the set speed.
To definitively deactivate Cruise Control and cancel any previous setting, turn the ring nut to the ’OFF’ position and turn the engine off. A telltale on the multifunction display indicates whether the system is activated or deactivated.
ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) has priority over Cruise Control, but once ASR has ceased its intervention, the system returns to the set speed. Parking sensor During parking manoeuvres, obstacles behind the car may be out of the driver’s field of vision, or the driver might simply not know exactly how far he is from the car parked behind. This is where the parking sensor can help, it is activated every time the ignition key is turned to the MAR position and reverse is engaged.
The system comprises an electronic control unit, which has an interface for the CAN network, four ultrasonic sensors in the rear bumper (two at the sides of the bumper and two beside the number plate), and a beeper. The four sensors cover both the outside rear corners of the car (starting from a distance of less than 60 cm) and the mid rear areas (starting from a distance below 150 cm).
How does it function? There are four ultrasonic transducers which act as intelligent impulse transmitters and receivers. The latter are emitted every time reverse is engaged and when they meet an obstacle they are reflected and received as an echo by the sensor. At this point, the incoming signal is converted into a digital signal and sent to the electronic control unit, which triggers the beeper.
The information is transmitted to the driver by regular acoustic signals, and the interval becomes shorter until it becomes a continuous signal when the car is 30 centimetres from the obstacle. The beeper stops if the lateral sensors detect an obstacle approaching for more than three seconds. This is to prevent the system from continuing to beep during manoeuvres along a wall parallel to the axis of the car.
Rain sensor Preventive safety means being assured of excellent visibility at all times. This is why the Grande Punto offers a rain sensor as standard equipment, because it keeps the windscreen clear even in bad weather. The system is applied in the upper part of the passenger compartment, behind the rear-view mirror, and automatically activates the windscreen wipers, adjusting frequency according to the intensity of the rain. It is activated by moving the right-hand lever of the control stalk to the first position (intermittent). It is based on the principle of the refraction of infrared rays through the glass and the drops of water.
The optical part of the sensor (lens) sends the infrared light to the windscreen. The latter reflects it and sends it back to the sensor. Because the luminous energy sent to the windscreen is constant, the value measured on reception decreases proportionally to the increase in the quantity of water and other impurities on the glass. Changes in the signal are elaborated by the electronic part of the sensor, which activates the appropriate wiper frequency.
Because the wet surface of the windscreen bothers the human eye more at night than during the day, the sensor also regulates the windscreen wiper on the basis of the ambient light. It recognises the streaking caused by worn blades and compensates for the effects of the ageing of the windscreen and the electronic elements. In particular situations it uses special wiping cycles, for example when there are sparse drops of water or other impurities on the windscreen (salt deposits, dirt, etc.).
The sensitivity of the rain sensor can be adjusted using the two-position ring nut on the right lever of the stalk. If the engine is stopped with the system running, it will be automatically deactivated. To start it again, when he restarts the engine, the driver can either turn the lever on the stalk to zero and then return it to the first position, or adjust the sensitivity of the sensor.
To indicate that it has been reactivated, the system gives one pass of the wipers, even if the windscreen is dry. The sensor is activated automatically after the window washer pump is used, for the time necessary to remove the drops on the windscreen. Tyre pressure sensor The new Fiat model also offers a tyre pressure sensor, which signals any anomalies with both a beep and a telltale on the display. The TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) monitors two conditions: insufficient inflation pressure and a puncture. If one of the thresholds is passed, the signalling telltale is activated and a message appears on the display. In the event of a puncture, the control panel also emits a beep. ’Small’ devices for great comfort With the Grande Punto the quality of the way we live and travel in our cars changes. The merit goes to various systems such as the ’Follow me home’ function which keeps the headlights on for a few seconds, the new FIX&GO system that repairs a punctured tyre, or darkened glass for greater privacy. And on the 5-door versions, the electric rear windows are available with an anti-pinch sensor incorporated into the upper seal. If the device detects the presence of an obstacle between the seal and the upper edge of the glass, it immediately inverts the movement of the window winder.
Another interesting feature of the new model is the deadlock, a technical feature that allows the inside door handle and all the levers connected to the lock to be put in neutral. This is an important step forward in protecting cars against theft: the deadlock makes any effort on the part of a thief to force the lock or its internal mechanism completely ineffective. The device must be activated deliberately (so as not to lock anyone inside the car). After the first turn of the key in one of the front doors or after the first impulse on the remote control, a second turn, or second impulse, must be given, and this engages the deadlock.
The Grande Punto also offers a supplementary heater and a cargo box. The former is an electric heater incorporated in the climate system which heats the air rapidly - without having to wait for the engine fluid to heat up - so that the passengers have an immediate perception of warmth. In addition to this advantage, driving in winter climates is safer because the warmer air means that the windscreen demists faster. And the cargo box raises the loading floor so that small personal items can be stored underneath, and produces a single level floor when the rear seat is folded down.
A ’solid’ car, the result of top quality construction. This is basically the second winning feature of the Grande Punto, which takes a great leap forward in the compact class, confirming Fiat’s unquestioned leadership of this category. It is the fruit of a ’robust’ project, which set three precise goals from the start: maximum safety, maximum enjoyment at the wheel and the best quality of life on board.
These goals have been achieved in full, because from the very first stages of the planning process the Grande Punto pursued very high quality standards and adopted a very severe engineering process based on a solid platform. This same severity was applied to all stages of the development and industrialisation of the model, applying the most advanced, innovative reliability methodologies. Extensive road tests were also carried out, for a total of 4.5 million kilometres. In the end, the enormous amount of data collected and the experience gained, have helped to increase Fiat Auto’s expertise and to establish a strong starting point for the development of future models. It is clear that the new car represents a further step forward in the striving for quality, a value that we find in the Melfi plant, which plays a leading role in the entire process; thanks to cutting edge technologies that can ensure the best quality and safety standards for the new model, and the complete recycling at the end of the car’s life cycle of all the materials used to build it.
But quality and reliability are not only expressed in numbers. We form important impressions by looking at and touching the passenger compartment of a car, observing the details, sitting on the seats, gripping the steering wheel, and assessing the appeal of the environment and the quality of the furnishings and finish. This is known as the ’perceived quality’. The judgement that emerges is the combination of a thousand different elements: from the shape of the objects to the materials they are made of, the individual colours and the way they combine, and our tactile sensations. And these stimuli all contribute to an equal degree to determining the final perception. This is why the engineers working on the Grande Punto project focused at length on every single detail, with a care and attention that is unusual in this market bracket.
The best safety in its segment
Fifteen thousand hours of calculations, 60 crash tests, one hundred simulations with a Hyge sled and two hundred tests on components and subsystems. These numbers underline the commitment that went into making the Fiat Punto one of the safest cars, not only in its segment but in the entire world car market, since the model represents the state of the art where passive safety systems are concerned.
Total protection, starting from the specific safety features: up to 7 airbags, two of which are of the Multistage type (six are standard on the Dynamic and Emotion specifications); three-point seat-belts with pretensioners and load limiters, five head-restraints and the FPS fire prevention system. The chassis is also new, designed specifically to absorb impact more efficiently. And the bodywork, the bonnet, the doors and the facia crossbeam all play their part in protecting occupants. Nor must we forget the contribution in terms of passive safety from elements such as the seats or the steering column, which were designed taking into account their behaviour in the event of an accident.
The Smart 2 Airbag system Complete protection, intelligent protection. In the event of head-on impact, occupants are protected by an innovative restraint system known as the ’Smart 2 Airbag’, because it is able to adapt the activation parameters automatically to the severity of an accident. Starting with the two front airbags for the driver and passenger, which have a new, different functioning logic. Until now, when the airbags were activated, they have always inflated simultaneously and up to their maximum size, which was established to safeguard occupants during the most serious impact.
The Grande Punto on the other hand, adopts dual stage front airbags; when impact is of medium intensity, the system only activates the first stage; but with very strong impact, the control unit activates both stages. The two stages can also be activated with different sequences according to the type of impact. In any case, the bridles inside the bags guarantee that the maximum dimensions and the shape that the cushions assume are as non-invasive as possible for the passengers. Obviously the front passenger bag can be deactivated by the menu on the control panel, so that an infant can be carried in a special seat facing backwards (the pretensioner remains active).
The sensors of the Smart 2 Airbag also control the activation of the seat-belt pretensioners. The Grande Punto fits inertia reel front seat-belts with pretensioners and load limiters. If impact occurs, the electronic pyrotechnical pretensioner retracts the belt in a few thousandths of a second, so that it grips the body perfectly. The load limiters are inside the front reels, and they give in a controlled manner to meter the effort exercised by the belt on the shoulders of the person wearing it. The control unit and the sensors The Grande Punto is fitted with all the most advanced passive safety devices available. A sophisticated "nervous system" has been developed to control them, piloted by an electronic control unit in the front tunnel. This unit receives the signals from the various sensors positioned around the car (as well as those inside the control unit itself) and on the basis of these decides how many and which devices must be activated. This is why the system as a whole behaves in an ’intelligent way’. It is not activated when, in spite of the impact, there is no danger that the occupant will hit against the sides of the car. It recognises the stress that is not derived from impact. It also functions if there is a blackout in the electrical system. Making all this possible, takes extremely sophisticated functioning logics and measurement terminals.
Like the CSA (Crash Severity Algorithm) which recognises the severity of the impact and controls the multistage front airbags; or the sensor that detects the presence of a front passenger and may warn the user to fasten his seat-belt with a beep or a telltale on the instrument panel. Or the decentralised sensor that detects head-on impact, and the ECS (Early Crash Sensor), an auxiliary device that is positioned in the front structure of the car and allows the control unit to anticipate the activation of the front airbags; unlike a traditional system, it allows them to unfold completely before the occupants start to move forward towards the steering wheel or the facia. The curtain bags and sidebags The former are airbags designed to inflate downwards along the windows, to protect occupants’ heads in a side-on collision. The curtain bags adopted on the Grande Punto are more protective than other systems (because they always assume the correct position), inflate faster and are less invasive for passengers. They open from the top down and their movement cannot cause secondary injury to the occupants’ arms.
They also effectively protect the heads of both front and rear passengers because they cover the whole windows and guarantee protection even if the car overturns. The two bags (one for the left and one for the right) are positioned underneath the roof longitudinals, folded into a closed compartment. At the appropriate moment, the cover folds, allowing the bags to inflate and descend.
To protect the pelvis and chest of front seat passengers in a side-on collision, the Grande Punto also provides two sidebags built into the squab of the front seats, where they protect the occupants better, regardless of their stature, position or seat adjustment.
Driver’s knee-bag (optional) The area under the steering column has always been the most dangerous for the knees, but it is rendered innocuous both by the addition of the knee-bag and by a new position for the steering lock, which has allowed the ignition key to be moved from its usual position.
The most stringent tests for total protection To verify the effectiveness of the combined protection system developed for the new model, the technicians of the Fiat Safety Centre subjected the new model to all possible high speed collision situations. They then compared the results with the structural and biomechanical parameters envisaged by some of the world’s strictest legislation. The following results were obtained.
Head-on impact The Grande Punto scored extremely well in two different types of test. The first is carried out at a speed of 64 km/h against a deforming barrier to simulate a head-on impact between two cars; the second envisages a crash at 56 km/h against a fixed, rigid barrier. Thanks to the strong structural architecture and the use of high energy absorption materials, on the Grande Punto the intrusion levels of these tests are extremely limited and allow all the doors to open, without generating significant inertia stress on the occupants because it is efficiently absorbed by the Smart Airbag system. And finally, in the event of head-on impact, the items in the Grande Punto luggage compartment do not hit the passengers.
Side-on impact Two internationally recognised tests underline the new model’s ability to guarantee the safety of the front and rear passengers even in the event of a high speed side-on impact. The first is that of ’impact against a deforming barrier’, which simulates a collision at 50 km/h between two cars at a 90° angle. The Grande Punto scores extremely well, thanks to the protection given to the pelvis by the sturdy bodyshell structure, to the abdomen and chest by the combined action of the sidebags and door panels, and to the head by the curtain bags. The second test is that of ’side-on impact against a post’, one of the most dangerous for any motorist.
Rear impact From a structural viewpoint, during rear impact tests attention is focused on containing the deformation of the passenger compartment and preventing damage to the fuel tank which could provoke a fire. From a biomechanical viewpoint, efforts are concentrated on protecting the occupant, preventing the seat from collapsing and minimising any injury, particularly to the neck and head which are usually the parts under the greatest stress.
Pedestrian protection The front of the Grande Punto was designed bearing in mind the need to protect pedestrians. The lines are smooth and rounded and there are no protruding elements that could be dangerous to a pedestrian. The large surface of the bonnet minimises the risk of a pedestrian’s head coming into contact with the rigid front pillars. The most unyielding components inside the engine bay are positioned at a sufficient distance from the bonnet to allow the ’skin’ of the bonnet to absorb at low levels the energy generated by impact with the pedestrian’s head.
Protection of children The new model features all the devices that ensure that children travel in complete safety. The main devices that make this effective are the Isofix attachments on the rear seat and the possibility of deactivating the passenger airbag from the onboard computer.
Protection against fire From the bodyshell to the various components, the Grande Punto was designed and built to meet the latest and strictest internal Fiat standards in the field of fire safety. For example, the adoption of the Fire Prevention System which, in the event of impact above a certain intensity, immediately blocks the electric pump in cars with petrol engines, and the supply solenoid in cars with diesel engines. The switch is positioned under the cover of the front right-hand door pillar, while the plastic fuel tank, which already meets future legislation, is located where it is protected in the event of a collision, and is able to resist any deformation without the risk of fuel leaks.
Active safety The Grande Punto adopts the most sophisticated electronic systems to control the car’s dynamic behaviour, implemented to take dynamic limits even higher so that they are not intrusive for the driver, while enhancing safety. The intervention of these devices has been studied with simulation and careful circuit tests in order to achieve an extremely enjoyable drive. A description of the generous equipment follows.
ABS with EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution) The Grande Punto’s excellent braking system is supplemented by one of the most advanced ABS anti-lock braking systems around. It has four active sensors and a hydraulic control unit with 12 solenoids. The ABS system incorporates the EBD electronic brake effort distribution system.
This distributes the braking effort to the four wheels to prevent them from locking, guaranteeing full control of the car in all conditions. The system also adapts to the grip conditions of the wheels and the efficiency of the brake pads, preventing them from overheating.
ESP (Electronic Stability Program) The sophisticated ESP device cuts in when conditions are close to the limit, if the car’s stability is at risk, to help the driver control the car. To do so, ESP constantly verifies the longitudinal and lateral grip of the tyres on the ground, and intervenes in the event of a skid to recover direction and stability. Sensors detect the rotation of the car around its vertical axis (yaw speed), lateral acceleration and the steering wheel angle set by the driver (which indicates his chosen direction). It compares these data with the parameters processed by a computer and uses a complex mathematical model to establish whether the car is taking a corner within the grip limits, or if it is about to skid at the front or the rear (understeer or oversteer). To recover the correct trajectory, the system generates a yaw contrary to the one that is causing the instability, braking the relevant wheel (inside or outside) individually and reducing the engine power (by adjusting the throttle valve). This is the peculiar feature of the device developed for the Grande Punto. The brake adjustments are modulated so that they are as smooth as possible (and will not disturb the driver) and the reduction in engine power is also limited, to guarantee excellent performance at all times and superbly enjoyable driving. ESP is always engaged.
Hill Holder - HBA The Hill Holder is an integral part of the ESP device, assisting the driver on hill starts. It intervenes when the ESP control unit detects a change in the car’s inclination through the longitudinal acceleration sensor on the floor under the passenger seat. During a hill start, the control unit prepares to intervene when first gear is engaged and the clutch and brake pedals are depressed. The pressure on the front callipers is maintained for about 1.5 seconds after the brake pedal is released, allowing the driver to set off more easily. On downhill starts with first gear engaged, the Hill Holder is not activated. The same is true for hill starts in which reverse is engaged: downhill the system is activated, whereas uphill it is not activated.
The HBA system is also available, an electro-hydraulic braking assistant which automatically increases the pressure in the braking circuit during emergency braking.
ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) is also built into the ESP system, optimising traction at all speeds, assisted by the brakes and the engine control.
The device monitors the wheel speed calculated by the ABS sensors to establish the amount of slip and triggers two different control systems to recover grip. When an excessive demand for power causes both drive wheels to slip (for example, aquaplaning or accelerating on an uneven, snow-covered or icy road surface), the system reduces engine torque by decreasing the throttle valve aperture and thus the air flow. If, on the other hand, only one wheel slips (for example the wheel on the inside of the bend, after acceleration or a dynamic change in the load), this wheel is automatically braked without the driver having to touch the brake pedal. The effect is similar to that of a self-locking differential. This gets the Grande Punto out of any difficulties on surfaces where grip is poor.
ASR is engaged automatically every time the engine is started, but can be excluded by a pushbutton on the central console. ASR must be excluded when snow chains are fitted because in this case, in order to transmit torque to the ground, the wheel needs to be able to ’accumulate’ the snow, with small slips that the ASR tends to avoid.
MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) This system is also an integral part of ASR, which acts during sudden gear changes when changing down, returning torque to the engine, and preventing excessive traction on the drive wheels which can cause the car to lose stability, particularly when grip is poor.
The Grande Punto offers an array of financial solutions and services that is unique in the automotive field, as well as a comprehensive range which, depending on the market, proposes important features, including many that were reserved for up-market cars until recently.
The new model comes in an extremely comprehensive range, where everyone will find the Grande Punto he or she is looking for. Different solutions are offered on different markets, but they all offer the same good value for money, and reflect the many ways of interpreting and using the car. In Italy, for example, the range includes a choice of 6 engines, 4 outfits (Active, Dynamic, Emotion and Sport), 13 bodywork colours, and 12 interior environments.
The entry model has the following standard equipment: ABS with EBD, Dualdrive electric power steering, front airbags, electric front windows, remote control door release, reach and height adjustable steering wheel, height-adjustable driver’s seat, rear head-restraints, radio wiring with 6 speakers and a trip computer. To this, the Grande Punto Dynamic adds: manual climate control, curtain bags, sidebags, radio with CD player and steering wheel mounted controls, leather covered gear lever knob and steering wheel, and a split rear seat on the 5-seater version. On top of this equipment, the Emotion specification offers a dual-zone automatic climate system, 15" alloy wheels, foglights, Cruise Control, electric lumbar adjustment and a front armrest, and an interior with plenty of elegant details that enhance comfort on board.
The last specification is the Sport outfit, which is distinguished on the outside by 17" sporty alloys, sideskirts, a spoiler, foglights and a visible chromed exhaust terminal. The customer can also ask for one of the two special bodywork shades that are exclusive to this version: Passionate Red and Entertaining Orange. The Grande Punto Sport is equipped with ESP, radio-CD player, and a leather covered steering wheel, gear lever knob and handbrake lever. It is an environment that is sure to satisfy the most demanding, sporty customers. And the special suspension setting makes driving more entertaining, while the aerodynamic kit under the bodyshell improves the Cd; with the 130 bhp 1.9 Multijet engine, the Grande Punto Sport has a top speed of 200 km/h. And the Grande Punto range offers everyone, even the most demanding, a wide choice of options, in addition to the Lineaccessori range which highlights the model’s practicality and versatility, while responding to the functional and emotional demands of every customer.