The launch of the Grande Punto Abarth is a tribute to the army of little Fiats from days gone by, that were given a tough, dynamic and sporty edge by the “magic hands” at Abarth: scorpions with a real sting in the tail, igniting the passion of thousands of drivers with a taste for challenge, speed, and Italian flair. Today, the Grande Punto Abarth is aiming to evoke the former glory of those high-performance vehicles by offering the public, especially younger drivers, the chance to enter the world of competitive racing in complete safety, at affordable prices.
The Grande Punto Abarth is fitted with a 1.4 turbo petrol engine, delivering 155 hp. Combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the engine gives the car a top speed of 208 km/h, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in just 8.2 seconds. The Grande Punto Abarth is not just a high performing little car – it is also safe, and environmentally friendly. Safe because the tuning is not limited to the engine and the aerodynamics: the car’s brakes and set-up have also been redesigned to cope with the improved performance. It is also eco-friendly because, despite having far more horsepower than the model on which it is based, it complies with the same legislation on noise and emissions (Euro 4 approved engine).
Developed by Abarth’s designers along with the technicians who produced the Grande Punto Fiat (one of Europe’s most successful cars), the Grande Punto Abarth is factory-built, and is subject to all the regulations and checks applied to standard models.
The raw power and elegance of the Grande Punto Abarth are instantly visible. Compared to a standard Punto, the track has been widened by 6 mm, it has 17” alloy wheels and red stripes bearing the Abarth name along each side. The front bumper is specially designed and houses the main beam headlights set in a black surround, while the larger air intakes, adapted to cater for the new engine’s cooling requirements, are enhanced with an exclusive Abarth design. Finally, the skirts, the wheel arch rims and black plastic underbody complete the fairing on the lower section, profiled to boost aerodynamic performance and extending as far as the tapered rear bumper. The Abarth badge is of course clearly visible, positioned in the centre of the front grille, the rear hatch and even on both sides, at door handle height.
However, most of the Abarth treatment relates to performance: the engine, brakes and set up. The 4-cylinder 16v engine (1368 cc supercharged with an IHI fixed geometry turbocharger) delivers 155 hp at 5500 rpm with a maximum torque of 206 Nm at 5000 rpm. When “power boost” mode is activated, the maximum torque increases to 230 Nm at 3000 rpm (a good 10% more), and the electric power-assisted steering modifies the setting to give a sportier feel. There are disc brakes on all wheels, and the front brakes are ventilated with a Brembo fixed dual-piston caliper.
The suspension is based on the tried and tested set up of the Fiat Grande Punto (McPherson strut and anti-roll bar, torsion bar suspension at the rear), suitably modified: the anti-roll bar has been widened (diameter 19 mm), the front springs are 20% firmer, and the set up has been lowered by 10 mm. After this treatment, the vehicle will provide impeccable road holding while maintaining a high standard of comfort. Evidence of the importance given to safety when the car was designed (especially for younger drivers), is that the ESP comes as standard and cannot be deactivated.
The Abarth touch is equally apparent inside the car: the charismatic figure of the scorpion on one side of the dashboard, for example, while the “carbon effect” central console is decorated with a textured cube motif. That’s not all: the instrument panel has a sporty design, with the same look for the steering wheel and gear stick, finished in black leather with red stitching. Last but not least, the seats have also been beautifully designed with built-in headrest, lumbar support and two wings providing lateral thigh support (on request, the seats and central dashboard section can be finished in full grain leather).