We've recently seen Fiat launch the 500 C recently, the convertible version of this ever popular premium city car as well as the face lifted Punto Evo. Fiat is having a renaissance of sorts with both cars as they are selling well in most of Fiat's major markets. The 500 is a real premium small city car that I enjoy sitting in, although I find the driving position a little too high up. It is small, cozy and the materials used in the interior are nice of look at, and nice to touch. It is nothing like the really ultra cheap plastics found in the Panda which the 500's chassis was derived from. The Punto Evo is the facelifted model of the Punto Grande whereby Fiat has removed the Maserati-esque front end. Of course, while Fiat is sold in Singapore, the current distributor seems to have a tough time creating sales as well as maintaining brand presence and awareness. This is usually the problem when a brand goes absent for a period of time. But I really do wish the Abarth models are sold here in this region. The new ones that are set to appear at the Geneva Motor Show look fabulous.
The Fiat Abarth 500c is one of the two newest collaboration between Fiat and the newly re-established Abarth brand. In those days, the 1960s and 1970s to those who are too young to remember Abarth was the tuning house to go to if you wanted a fast Fiat. Everything from the small 500 to the 2000cc Fiats had Abarth magic breathed upon them. The smaller Fiats especially the Fiat Abarth 1000TCR were incredible little pocket rockets. It was a mad little car invented by mad Italians. I don't think anyone would have designed a car with a car that exhaust pipe exited through the engine bay which was left open to the elements at the rear of the car.
Anyway, the new Abarth 500c is basically the Abarth version of the 500 convertible. It has an electric soft top available in either black or grey titanium, a Abarth tuned suspension & wheels and a 1.4 Turbo T-Jet engine making 138 bhp and 206Nm of torque. Abarth says it will go from 0 - 100km/h in 8.1 seconds and return an average 6.5 l/100 km (43.4 mpg imp) in the combined cycle. Now being a convertible this car isn't meant to be as manic as the normal Abarth 500 version. This is as convertibles are meant for people who want to enjoy the wind in their hair and sometimes this means the driving is a little more sedate than the hard top versions. Also most cars with a drop top have a chassis that isn't as rigid as one with a roof which means that handling is usually compromised. It has a nice colour scheme though.
The Abarth Punto Evo is the second model that Fiat is showing off at Geneva. The 1.4 engine will make 162bhp and 250Nm of torque. There will be an EsseEsse (SS) version with more horses (178bhp) later. There will be a Sport and Normal mode for drivers to select dampers and Torque Transfer Control systems (traction control) on this Abarth. The car will have the usual sportier than the usual Punto Abarth specific body kits and rims as well as the white colour and red stripes that make Abarth look good.
I like Fiats. Maybe as my dad had one (a Fiat 131 Mirafiori) and it was the first rear wheel drive car I ever drove (and lost control with in the wet) and the first Bburago model I ever owned, a Alitalia Fiat 131 Abarth Rally in 1/24 scale. By the time that toy went missing, it had one door pulled out of its hinge, two tires missing and the tiny steering gone. I still miss it to this day. Compared to the stock 131, it was massive, it was one of the first production cars heavily modified from a stock 2 door version with additional wheel extensions, a bonnet scoop, a roof spoiler and boot spoiler. The roof spoiler was there in 1979 waaayyyyy before the Subaru Impreza first utilized one on the Sti of 2006. Same concept decades ago.
And that is why any new Fiat Abarth is a good thing. The bad thing is that they don't sell'em officially here in this part of the world.
-The 1000TCR, a cute, mad car. I still have the Tamiya RC version of this car. And that's the only version of the car I'll ever own I think
- This is the exact toy car I had when I was younger.