Thursday, February 10, 2011

Geneva Preview: New Abarth Punto EVO


    A few months after the premiere of the (facelifted) Punto EVO, and Abarth has announced that it has prepared its own version of the three-door supermini packing a 1.4 liter turbocharged Multiair four-banger that will debut alongside the souped-up 500C that we told you about earlier today at next week's Geneva Motor Show.
    Fiat's performance division has sourced a larger turbocharger from Garrett in order to lift output to 165-horsepower and 250Nm of torque (at 2,250 RPM). 100 km/h rolls by you in 7.9 seconds, meaning there's got to be more than just a power boost to make this worthy of the Abarth name. And there is.
    In the handling department, the Abarth provides a beefed up suspension consisting of McPherson struts up front and a torsion-bar-eqipped "semi-independent" rear suspension out back. Combined with a new, bigger anti-roll bar and 20% stiffer springs, the Abarth should make a standard Punto EVO feel like a boat - or so to say.
    Aerodynamics have improved over the outgoing model and more than couple of beauty enhancements have also been made.


    Abarth's Punto EVO has changed thus: a wider front bumper, realigned air inlets/outlets, redesigned rear bumper (featuring a carryover diffuser with new details and reorganized reverse/fog lights), color-matched side-skirts and new rear spoiler, different satin finish on the exhaust tips, new 17-inch wheels, and a fresh set of graphics. All that, and they've gone back to the old badge (shield versus circle).
    Inside, drivers have access to optional Sabelt racing buckets and a new vehicle dynamics system that allows them to control braking/steering/engine characteristics with a 2-mode lever (Sport and Normal) housed on the center tunnel. The selected driving mode appears on the dashboard, while a shift light (Gear Shift Indicator, or GSI) resides in the Jaeger-filled instrument panel.
    Other features to be found on Abarth's latest hot-hatch include Start&Stop technology and Torque Transfer Control (TTC), which provides a locking differential that is automatically activated in sport mode.
    While output has gone up, so has fuel economy and green-ness with the hot hatch returning a combined 6.0 lt / 100km (39.2 mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 142g / km.
    Now the real good news (as if no one saw it coming): an SS kit which pushes the envelope even further.
    The SS features lowering springs and 18-inch wheels in white or titanium, while output is cranked up to 180-horsepower and the brakes are beefed up with new pads and vented discs. 

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