13 September 2007

Frankfurt show: Fiat Grande Punto Abarth SS and S2000

Pair of hotted-up Puntos proves the Italian scorpion is back and bad

Fiat Grande Punto Abarth SS

The Scorpion is well and truly back. This is the Fiat Grande Punto Abarth SS and, for something that's little more than a hotted-up Punto, it's one of our favourite cars at Frankfurt.  

Just look at it. Look at those red-hued air intakes, look at the cheeky Italian colours poking out from under the bonnet, look at those skinny 12-spoke alloys. In short, it looks simply awesome.

The Punto Abarth has just gone on sale in Italy, but this hotter version ups the power game to bring the Abarth in line with the current generation of hot superminis.

The 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine now puts out 180bhp, 30bhp up on the non-SS Abarth. The non-SS will hit 62mph in 8.2 seconds, so expect this one to a good bit quicker.

On the inside, it's a pleasingly overstated effort, with masses of red trim, race harnesses and a fur-and-aluminium gear level. Best of all, there's a big turbo gauge in the middle of the centre console. The world needs more big turbo gauges. 

Alongside the Abarth SS on the Fiat stand lurks the Punto Abarth S2000 - a racing version of the Punto that's currently competing in the Italian Rally championship.

Adorned with masses of decals, catches and aero-bits, it's hardly a subtle effort, but we still want one. Especially with the 2.0-litre, 270bhp engine powering all four wheels. Magnifico.

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