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First look: Fiat Punto gets SS treatment

It's super, sport: Punto Abarth delivers about 134kW in SS trim.

Fiat shortens the wick of its light-sized Punto hatch, via the Abarth Super Sport

10 Sep 2007

FIAT has come good on its promise to produce an even quicker Punto than the Abarth version revealed in concept guise at the Geneva motor show in March and released this month in Europe.

However, it won’t come in the form of the bolt-on aftermarket kit announced at Geneva, but in the shape of a complete vehicle to make its global debut at this week’s Frankfurt motor show and dubbed the Punto Abarth ‘essesse’ or Super Sport.

Australian Fiat importer Ateco Automotive says it will introduce either the regular Punto Abarth or the Abarth SS – or both models – by around mid-2008, depending on price. However, GM Holden is unlikely to allow Fiat to use the SS name here.

The regular Punto Abarth, which makes its production premiere at Frankfurt, is powered by a Garrett-turbocharged 1.4-litre DOHC petrol four-cylinder that delivers 110kW at 5500rpm and 206Nm of torque at 2000rpm (230Nm at 3000rpm in Sport mode, which also alters the electric steering assistance).

36 center imageA bodykitted, six-speed manual-only proposition, the Abarth features twin-piston Brembo front brake callipers with 305x28mm ventilated front and 264x11mm solid rear discs, plus 7.0x17-inch alloy wheels with 215/45-section tyres.

But the Abarth SS, which appears in prototype guise at Frankfurt, ups the Punto ante considerably by delivering almost double the entry-level Punto’s power output – in the same way the original 1958 Fiat 500 offered 13hp at 4000rpm and the same year’s Abarth version produced 26hp at 5000rpm.

Few details are available as yet, but Fiat says the Punto Abarth SS will produce “almost 180bhp (134kW)” to dramatically improve on the standard Punto Abarth’s claimed top speed of 208km/h and claimed 0-100km/h acceleration of 8.2 seconds.

Claimed to offer “an opportunity, addressed to the young in particular, of entering the racing world in total safety and at an accessible price”, the SS-badged Punto is differentiated by chequered-flag ‘essesse’ logos, lowered suspension and more powerful brakes again.

Both the Punto Abarth and SS prototype will appear at Frankfurt alongside the Abarth Racing Operations’ all-wheel drive 200kW 2.0-litre Punto Abarth S2000, which competes in the 2007 Italian Rally Championship and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Fiat says 25 examples of the S2000 have been ordered by European teams for both local and international rally competition.

Outside Fiat’s Scorpion-badged Abarth exhibit at Frankfurt will be the all-new Fiat 500 and the Panda Aria concept car, which emits just 69g/km of CO2 emissions, as well as Punto and Bravo vehicles fitted with new 120hp (88kW) and 150hp (110kW) 1.4-litre T-Jet engines.

While the Punto 1.4 T-Jet should join Australia’s Punto range early next year and one or both Abarth models will arrive around mid-year, both the 500 and Bravo (to be known as the Ritmo here) will make their Australian debuts at the Melbourne motor show in March, before going on sale soon after.

Read more:

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