Engine: 1.4 L Turbocharged Petrol In-line 4 Cyl. (T-jet)
Power/Torque : 143 BHP Power; 212 NM torque.
Gearbox: 5 speed manual. FWD
Fuel Efficiency : 16 KMPL
Price: 10.59 Lakhs. (ex-showroom price)
Fiat under the Abarth division finally gave a genuine hot hatch to the Indian Market. The Punto with its stunning Italian looks and now with a Scorpion stuck to its roof, wheels, boot and everywhere around, has the performance to go with the looks. This one is not your everyday Fiat Punto, It’s a mental, mad version. You don’t look for features or utility in such cars. instead, you just turn on the ignition, start the car, floor the throttle, and launch forward with all the screeches and tyre smoke drawing out long tyre marks on the road.
The crazy sticker and paint job shouts out loud to the world that this isn’t an ordinary Fiat, Its a bonkers sports version. It kind of defines the owner. It makes a statement, describes such an enthusiast the owner really is. They’ve made it sure people don’t see it as a Fiat as there is not a single Fiat logo on this car even though the Punto basically is a Fiat product. The Abarth Punto gets stunning 16″ Abarth wheels and disc brakes on all the four wheels. A good and necessary change over the standard Punto since there is quite an increase in the power. Other than that the Abarth gets ABS with EBD and dual airbags. On the inside the Abarth comes with all the basic features that you would expect in a hatchback. You get a media player with Bluetooth, AUX, USB, Bluetooth telephony, Steering mounted controls etc. The rear seats get an Air conditioning vent which is not a regular feature in hatchbacks. Other features include things like Automatic Climate Control, Electric mirrors, Abarth kick plates etc.
Abarth logo everywhere
Engine: The best part of this package is its Engine. A 1.4 L T-jet that produces 143 BHP for this size of a car is just insane. Honestly, the Turbocharger boost is such a thrill that it may scare you if you are not mentally prepared for it. Being a FWD, there is a tendency of torque steer, hence you need to hold the steering firmly. That is, only when you step on the pedal. Rest of the time it is a pretty civilized car when you are not in a mood to drive fast. In fact, drive it normally and you won’t even come to know that you’re in an Abarth. And that is a where it wins, when you want to shoot, it will shoot. Especially in everyday commute, it makes a lot of difference in the overall experience. A good one that is!. One thing that may not match the Scorpion batch is the way it sounds. Not bad actually, but its not special either. The engine sound has a little bass tone to it, so may be it requires an aftermarket exhaust system to bring out its potential.
Coming to the gearbox, the feel of shifting the gears is a bit of a turn down. The gear lever is a bit too hard to play around with. It feels like you are operating a gear lever of an SUV and not a nimble compact hatchback may be because of the amount of torque the Abarth needs to handle. The lever also does not slot in to gears distinctively. Compared to other hatches the transmission isn’t light and addictive enough as you would expect in a hot hatch.
The contrast stitched fabric and soft touch dashboard makes the cabin feel premium.
Steering wheel a bit too big
Rear AC vent
Interiors: Nothing special here inside the cabin. You do have the basic functions and features in place. Something I liked is the soft touch dashboard that feels very premium. The black fabric and contrast stitching make up for the sporty feel. Not many cars that come with fabric seats feel premium. The Abarth fabric seats feels nice. The dashboard is similar to the Punto. The steering wheel though sporty is a bit too big. The central console doesn’t have many storage pockets for keeping toll tickets or mobile phone. The rear not a great place to be.But hey, this isn’t a luxury limo to ferry you around, right? The whole point of this car is driving and it drives great.
Low profile 195/55 R16 tyres and those lovely 16″ Abarth alloys
Driving experience: The Abarth is all about driving experience and the brand. It will launch from a stand still to 100 kmph in 8.8 seconds and will handle most of the turns you throw at it at high speeds. The ground clearance on the Abarth Punto at 155 mm is lower than the standard Punto by 30 mm. Still it sits quite high for the real Abarth feel. Thanks to the Indian road conditions, like most of the European cars, it has been given good amount of ground clearance. Compared to the standard Punto, the suspensions here are biased towards sporty characteristics. This gives a good balance between ground clearance and sporty handling. The low profile 195/55 R16 tyres and disc on all four wheels further enhance the experience.
Summing it up: The Punto Abarth may not be great on features or luxury, but that is the whole point. It is meant for passionate power hungry car enthusiasts who want a car to suit their image. Its a mental car with a bomb of an engine. Plus you get an exclusivity of the Abarth brand. It is purely a devilish toy. And especially for the price tag, it is a great one! Cheap Thrills like they call it.