If you’re a fan of performance Fiats then you’ll be delighted to hear about the double trouble rolling off Italian production lines right now – the Abarth Punto EVO and Abarth 500C.
Whilst the Fiat Group is keen to present Abarth in its own brand ala Renault with Gordini, one can see they are for all intents and purposes beefed up Fiat’s with the Turin marque’s official seal of approval. Not that this is to take anything away from these striking looking vehicles aimed at those who want more poke and aesthetic presence in their B-road brawlers.
The Punto EVO features the 1.4 litre MultiAir Turbo engine which puts out 165bhp, resulting in a 0-62mph dash of 7.9s before maxing out at 133mph. The Abarth version of the Punto has power boosted by 10% and torque 15% over the engine in its original configuration, though conforms to Euro 5 emissions regulations and emits a very un-performance car-like 142g/km of CO2.
Safety equipment includes Abarth’s clever Torque Transfer Control (TTC) system. This replicates the behaviour of a limited slip differential to improve the Abarth Punto EVO’s dynamic responses while ensuring the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) remains on stand-by should it be required. ABS, Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR) and Hydraulic Brake Assistance (HBA) are all standard, as are seven airbags including a drivers’ knee bag.
The 500C is Abarth’s convertible take on the 500, with the idea being to attract a whole new audience to the 500 by broadening its appeal through a number of aesthetic and performance modifications. By the numbers, the 500C boats 140bhp (5bhp more than the 500 hatchback thanks to an ECU remap) with a top speed of 128mph should you be so inclined to push the 500C that hard. 62mph appears from standstill in 8.1s which is reasonably nippy for a car of this size.
The Abarth cornerstone is performance and the Abarth 500C embodies that with innovations that transform it into the fastest and most focused soft top of its size. The most radical of these is the Abarth Competizione gearbox. Developed specifically by Abarth engineers, the Manual Transmission Automated (MTA) allows drivers to change gear using paddles mounted behind the steering wheel for a sportier feel.
Both the Punto EVO and 500C are available now, priced from £16,500 and £17,500 OTR respectively.