Abarth Grande Punto (2008–2010)
Abarth officially launched in the UK
Three versions of the Grande Punto Abarth are available - the 1.4 T-Jet and two further upgrades promising even more driver involvement. The first tuning kit, known as Assetto, is designed to enhance the chassis of the car, including the brakes and suspension. The kit includes ventilated and cross-drilled front brake discs, cross-drilled rear discs, high performance (softer) front brake pads, special shorter springs and 18-inch white painted alloy wheels fitted with Pirelli P Zero tyres.
The second option - known as the esseesse (SS) kit - primarily increases the power of the engine and is only available in conjunction with the Assetto kit. It adds several components including a special air filter, a larger Garrett turbocharger, new injectors, larger diameter freeflow exhaust system, and a revised engine control unit with esseesse software. All of this boosts engine performance from 155bhp to 180bhp. Visually, the £3,500 esseesse kit includes unique logos for the tailgate, wing mirror covers and engine cover.
Compared with the standard Grande Punto, the Abarth's track has been widened by 6mm and it is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels with the option of contrasting striping bearing the Abarth name along each side. The front bumper has been specially redesigned and houses the headlights set in a dark surround, while the larger air intakes, adapted to cater for the turbocharged engine's cooling requirements, are enhanced with an exclusive Abarth design.
Sideskirts, wheel arch rims and black plastic underbody complete the fairing on the lower section, which is profiled to boost aerodynamic performance and extends as far as the tapered rear bumper. The Abarth badge is clearly visible, positioned in the centre of the front grille, the rear hatch, and on both flanks, at door handle height.
Inside, the charismatic Abarth scorpion badge is positioned on the passenger side of the dashboard, for example, while the 'carbon effect' central console is decorated with a textured cube motif. The car's instrument panel has been given a sporty new design, and the same smart finish is used for both the steering wheel and gear stick - black leather with red stitching.
Driver and front passenger seats have also been designed to capture the style and driving experience of Abarth. Both have built-in head restraints, lumbar support and excellent lateral thigh support. On request, the seats and central dashboard section can be finished in full grain leather.
The Grande Punto Abarth is fitted with a 1.4 turbo (T-Jet) petrol engine, delivering 155bhp. Combining with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the engine gives the car a top speed of 129 mph, and a 0-62 mph acceleration time of just 8.2 seconds.
Through cubic capacity downsizing allied to the adoption of a small turbocharger, this responsive 155 bhp 1.4 litre T-Jet engine delivers a performance equal to or better than a conventionally aspirated 2.0 litre engine with a reduction of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent in fuel consumption and emissions.
Via a Sport Boost button located in the centre console of the Grande Punto Abarth, the engine will deliver an impressive 229Nm of torque at 3000 rpm, (206Nm in normal mode), endowing the vehicle with a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 129 mph. Notwithstanding such strong performance, this superbly responsive powerplant will nevertheless return over 40mpg in the combined cycle and restrict CO2 emissions to just 162g/km.
Additionally use of the Sport Boost function modifies the amount of steering effort required by the driver, so as to give a sportier feel. For top stopping power the car is equipped with disc brakes all round; the front brakes being ventilated and equipped with powerful Brembo fixed four-piston callipers.
The Grande Punto Abarth's suspension is based on the tried and tested set-up of the Fiat Grande Punto, which means MacPherson struts and anti-roll bar at the front and torsion beam suspension at the rear, but it is significantly modified. The anti-roll bar has been thickened (diameter 19 mm), the front springs are 20 per cent stiffer, and the ride height is lowered by 10 mm.
Optional sports seats called ‘Abarth Corse by Sabelt’, are the result of co-operation between the two sporting Italian brands. Designed by Sabelt Style Centre, under the supervision of Abarth’s stylists, the new seats stem from the same philosophy that inspired, in the 1960s, racing seats for the Abarth 595 and 695.
‘Abarth Corse by Sabelt’ is light, strong, comfortable and highly efficient in retaining body control under cornering, braking and acceleration forces, thanks to its mono-layer padding containment bands. The forward-tipping seatback comprises a headrest with slit for a full multi-point safety harness.
Available in two versions – Frau black leather with fretworked black Alcantara, or black "F1" technical fabric – the seats are finished with red thread seams, a distinctive embroidered Abarth name, and the Scorpion Logo on the backrest tilt wheel.
Initially available on the Abarth Grande Punto from June 2009, the seats are priced at £2,250 per pair (leather) or £1,760 per pair (fabric). They will be available throughout Abarth’s 16-strong dealer network.