06 March 2007

Geneva show: Fiat Grande Punto Abarth

It's Friends Reunited as Abarth and Fiat team up for a hot Punto

Fiat Grande Punto Abarth

As the volume of Friends Reunited-inspired divorces will attest, re-igniting trysts from the past can be a messy business. But we've got a good feeling about the newly rekindled romance between Fiat and Abarth.

Hiding behind the obligatory bimbo is the Grande Punto Abarth, one of our favourite bits of metal to come out of Geneva.

It's the first modern Fiat to get the Abarth treatment, although the partnership is promising more to come.

Equipped with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the Punto Abarth will deliver 150bhp - or 155bhp if you fill up with super unleaded.

If that sounds a little tame, you'll be able to lay your hands on an aftermarket booster kit that will pump the power up to 180bhp.

There's no word on performance yet, but Fiat says that Punto Abarth is all about affordable thrills for young drivers, which would indicate that it won't slot into scorchingly hot hatch territory.

No matter though - if Fiat can recapture the joie de vivre of the Abarth models of old, this could represent the rekindling of a beautiful, beautiful relationship.

Fiat also unveiled the S2000, a rally version of the Punto Abarth. A development of the car that won the 2006 Italian Rally Championship, the S2000 has a normally-aspirated two-litre engine putting out 270bhp through all four wheels.

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