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Old 25th October 2015, 17:10   #16
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Superb Review! A bit crispier than usual but I prefer this.

I find the decal work quite loud - it is slightly less offensive in black. I am still trying to figure out some "norms" about performance cars having decals, louder exhaust note, splashes of crimson on the fabrics, etc. [Even "performance" laptops are being splashed with red as in Asus gaming laptop]. I prefer an understated elegance and on that count GT TSI won my heart.

Abarth Punto is definitely in my radar for early next year purchase, but I hope they will do something about the decals by then. Everything else looks almost perfect (for the price) - indicated "don't likes" are no issues at all for me.
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Old 25th October 2015, 17:13   #17
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Excellent review and the black abarth surely looks amazing. Probably the biggest crowd puller will be the black colour.

Only a true enthusiast will be able to tell what's under the hood of this understated design. IMO the abarth graphics should not have been so loud. It looks as if the car is screaming for attention.

Nevertheless, it looks better than the camouflaged look of the GT.

Just cant help buy grin from ear to ear while reading this review.
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Old 25th October 2015, 17:17   #18
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Thanks for the excellent report on test-driving Abarth Punto, Krishna Prasad. Rated the much-deserving 5 stars.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
Abarth Pedals are not standard, but available as an option. It should have been part of the standard
Any idea, how much do they cost as accessories? What about the exhaust tip? Does it also come as an accessory?
Quote:
Even with the lower ground clearance, the stiff suspension ensured the underbelly did not scrape anywhere.
Oh, that's a big relief for me. My erstwhile Linea with 165 mm GC and protruding nose used to kiss many notorious humps of Bangalore!
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Old 25th October 2015, 17:41   #19
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Excellent review there; short, but covered the details very well.

If I have to go for a hatchback in India, this indeed would be my choice. It has got almost everything you would expect from a car in this price range – great steering, power, MT, decent safety kit (would’ve been better with ESP, and a couple of more airbags), and great looks. Just that I would get rid of all those stickers and keep it plain and simple in black (or white).
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Old 25th October 2015, 17:52   #20
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Excellent reviews ! Thanks a ton.
I so wish I had not got married last winter. There's just too many people saying no to think about this beautiful car now.
I would have borrowed from friends or even stolen money from my dad's locker to get this car if I were single.

Talking about the seating position, I think taller people will find it a bit awkward, but at 5'8'' I feel perfectly at home in my brother's Linea, even the underthigh support is good. The steering feels closer to the chest but it is not a deal breaker anyway.

Moreover, Abarth owners will face a completely different problem in Pune: Their car logos getting stolen. We had to spend quite a few bucks to get a replacement then for our new Linea. Please take care !
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Old 25th October 2015, 17:57   #21
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by SKavuri View Post
Superb Review! A bit crispier than usual but I prefer this.

I find the decal work quite loud - it is slightly less offensive in black. I am still trying to figure out some "norms" about performance cars having decals, louder exhaust note, splashes of crimson on the fabrics, etc. [Even "performance" laptops are being splashed with red as in Asus gaming laptop]. I prefer an understated elegance and on that count GT TSI won my heart.

Abarth Punto is definitely in my radar for early next year purchase, but I hope they will do something about the decals by then. Everything else looks almost perfect (for the price) - indicated "don't likes" are no issues at all for me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Excellent review there; short, but covered the details very well.

If I have to go for a hatchback in India, this indeed would be my choice. It has got almost everything you would expect from a car in this price range – great steering, power, MT, decent safety kit (would’ve been better with ESP, and a couple of more airbags), and great looks. Just that I would get rid of all those stickers and keep it plain and simple in black (or white).
I too prefer it without those decals. Getting rid of those decals isn't difficult at all.

I wish they had retained what I saw in BIC. Getting back to this look is not difficult at all.

Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review-img_6571.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Thanks for the excellent report on test-driving Abarth Punto, Krishna Prasad. Rated the much-deserving 5 stars.
Thank you

Quote:
Any idea, how much do they cost as accessories? What about the exhaust tip? Does it also come as an accessory?
It should cost around 10K as per the discussion yesterday with the Sales Chap. But dont be surprised it comes around 6 or 7k. Pricing is being worked out for what should have beens standard equipment

Quote:
Oh, that's a big relief for me. My erstwhile Linea with 165 mm GC and protruding nose used to kiss many notorious humps of Bangalore!
The suspension is stiff, so if at all it scrapes it should be a really huge one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NiInJa View Post
Talking about the seating position, I think taller people will find it a bit awkward, but at 5'8'' I feel perfectly at home in my brother's Linea, even the underthigh support is good. The steering feels closer to the chest but it is not a deal breaker anyway.
The seating in the Linea and the Punto are different. Linea provides better underthigh support as the seat squabs are different. The Punto always lacked underthigh support.

Last edited by nkrishnap : 25th October 2015 at 17:59.
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Old 25th October 2015, 18:04   #22
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Here's a GT TSI owner's impressions on the Abarth Punto:

Exterior:

Well, it looks aggressive and fast whilst standing still. In pictures, the red stickers look a bit much but in the flesh, it isn't bad at all! Sure, on close inspection, it looks like something whipped-up at a local sticker shop, but I can live with it. That said, I do not like the red fog-lamp bezels and the chrome door-handles. It needs to sit an inch or two lower as well.

Interior:

Apart from the all-black theme and a few touches like the instrument cluster, Abarth badges and red-yellow stitching on the seats, the interior is standard-fare. The seats are comfortable and the quality of plastics is generally good, except for some rough edges.

It is an absolute ergonomic disaster though! I mean, I just couldn't find a comfortable driving position. The steering-wheel sits too close to the chest and the lack of depth in the footwell gives you the impression that the pedals should have been set back a bit.

Engine & Gearbox:

In a word: Explosive! This engine packs more heat than you'd ever need for every day driving. And it's not just the outright power that's impressive, it's the wad of torque you get post 2k RPM that makes this car so quick! It torque-steers alright! There is a bit of lag below 2k revs but it's not something you can't work around. What I found most impressive though is the drivability. It pulls from just about any gear and from revs that are as low as 1.6k! Simply prod the throttle while cruising in 3rd and you will suddenly find yourself tickling 4k RPM and approaching 3-digit speeds! It's phenomenal! That said, it does not seem to rev as quickly and as freely as the TSI. My Polo GT's will rev happily to 6k+ but the T-Jet on full-throttle seemed to take a second longer to bounce off the 5-and-a-bit-K limiter.

Yes, the gearbox is a bit of a let-down but only because the shift-quality is a bit rubbery. Also, the gearbox does not like being rushed and the clutch-travel is on the longer side. But it certainly isn't a deal breaker IMO. In fact, at some point during the test drive, I felt a little bad for switching to an AT car and mow, I sorely miss the manual! The gearbox in the Abarth Punto is not bad at all!

Ride:

The ride is something I can't seem to find fault with. The suspension is so compliant over undulations that you probably wouldn't notice it if you don't pay attention. It feels very well damped and dismisses the rough-stuff without a fuss. And it seems to only get better the faster you go!

Handling:

I did not get anywhere near this car's limits but I did take a fast left hander at full throttle in 2nd gear and it just held its line, no fuss, no drama! I did detect a bit of lean and roll, especially while putting the car through a mock slalom-pot-hole-avoidance manoeuvre but it continued to hold its line without flinching. Even while negotiating undulations around corners, the car wasn't unsettled. This is where I feel that the seats and tyres are limiting factors as far as this car is concerned. The Abarth Sabelt Sport bucket seats would have been perfect in this car!

Steering:

In a word: Analog. There is so much feel and feedback coming through the wheel that I was put-off by my TSI's steering while driving back home after the TD! They have certainly done some calibration work to the steering as it feels a bit lighter than I thought it would. But it's as direct as it gets!

Brakes:

So much bite that it almost feels over-servoed! Braking performance is mighty good. It stops way faster than you'd expect. Very refreshing when you're used to the GT TSI's soggy pedal feel and mediocre stopping-power.

How would I improve it:

- Swap the Apollos for chunkier rubber.
- Wrap the red fog-lamp bezels (front / back) and the chrome door handles in gloss-black.
- Get rid of the deliberately engineered and rather ridiculous boomy-bassy exhaust note and get something that sounds closer to the 595 Competizione *wink-wink*
- Get a short-shifter and an clutch conversion kit.

DONE.

In a nutshell:

It makes my GT TSI feel like the soulless commuter-car that it is. Sure, the 1.2 TSI mill + DSG is fun in its own right while making light-work of distances. The neutral ride-handling, premium interiors as well as superior fit-finish probably makes it the better 'package' for the money too. But it's no where near as fun or as involving as the Abarth Punto is. And at 12 lakhs on-the-road, it's the bargain of the century if you ask me! When Hyundai and Maruti have the audacity to price their stupid pseudo cross-overs at 17-18 lakhs, the 12 lakh price-tag on the Abarth Punto makes it look VFM in my opinion!

And if I'm completely honest, I feel I may have jumped the gun 6 months back when I bought the GT TSI. But it's a good thing. Had I waited, I would have spent several sleepless nights deciding between them.
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Old 25th October 2015, 18:08   #23
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Unless you go try it you really wont know if you are going to be pleasantly surprised or extremely dissapointed. Whichever way you lean, it still is a unique product at it's price point.
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Old 25th October 2015, 18:10   #24
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Glad to be back on the forum after a long hiatus

Wonderful review and work guys. I had a nice long test drive with the Abarth out of curiosity. I don't think I will be able to add anything significant on the drive part apart from what has already been mentioned about the Abarth versus the regular Punto Evo, but here are some points on comparing the Abarth to my 115HP Linea T-Jet:

Exteriors:

- The vinyls on the sides are the nicest part of the loud looking exteriors. The bonnet, roof and boot vinyls are not for my liking and in my opinion a bit too tacky. The red fog lamp bezels are a design disaster, both on the front and the rear. I suggest wrapping them up with matt or faux carbon fibre vinyls to hide the hideous contrast.

- No option of red color on the menu. Why is there no option of a Red/Black combo? Personally I would have preferred a bright colored car with dark vinyls. Looks like Fiat India is trying to cut costs by using the same red vinyl sets for both white and black cars.


Interiors:

- Personally it didn't feel like a great upgrade from what the Punto Evo already offers. Ideally they should have covered this gap by giving sportier leather interiors in what they want the public to perceive as an aspirational product. When a customer is spending 11.9L on a petrol hot hatch, I don't think an additional 30-40k will be a huge deterrent to sprucing up the interiors. Anyway this is not a volumes market they are targeting.

- The instrument cluster and the soft touch plastics feel way better than the El cheapo materials and fit on offer on the previous gen Puntos and Lineas.


Instrumentation and Equipment:

- I fail to understand why they excluded Cruise control on this car when they are already providing it on the Linea T-Jet, which by the way is cheaper. Most owners of this car will take it on the highway, and cruise control comes in handy there if not inevitable.

- How much would it have costed them extra to give goodies such as DRLs or projector headlamps on this car? Almost the entire equipment list is similar to the regular Evo. Also, The Linea will beat it on the list in spite of being cheaper.


Drive Experience:

- The initial expectation I had when I entered the cabin was a throaty growl from the exhaust. Alas, it sounds similar to my 115HP Linea T-Jet. Even on revving high, the engine sounds very similar to the old T-Jet. This car deserves a meatier exhaust note for that perfect drive experience.

- Acceleration lower down in the 1000-2000 rpm range doesn't feel noticeably quicker than the Linea T-Jet. In fact, I felt the Linea felt a little better to potter around at 1500rpm in bumper to bumper traffic. Perhaps this is due to the slight extra lag for the bigger turbo on the Abarth.

- Acceleration from 2000-3000 rpm feels noticeably punchy, more than the Linea. The Linea felt slightly linear in comparison.

- A funny observation was around the 3300-3800 rpm range, there is a flat spot when the acceleration rate hits some sort of plateau and feels linear for a while until it resumes its hurried thrust. Once past this flat spot, the motor pulls cleanly all the way upto the 5500 mark. It may not be so noticeable unless compared head to head with the Linea which accelerates uniformly from 2000-5500 rpm. I feel they should have fixed this flat spot.

- You've gotta watch the speedo. The car masks speed very well and hits insane figures effortlessly. It is very easy to be carried away when you floor the throttle in enthusiasm. Upto speeds of 100-110, the Linea feels similar to the Abarth. After that is where one can feel the extra 30 horses taking over. (Just to clarify, I was doing that on private roads and not on public highways )

- Highway progress should be very swift and making your way through highway traffic and gaps/lane switches can be done with surgical precision, thanks to a wonderful steering + acceleration + handling + braking combo. Your average speed will go up several notches higher with this car on the highway. Very confidence inspiring setup for the open roads. It leaves its bigger sibling behind in this department.

- Braking quality is top notch and I would give it an A++ score, one up from the already A+ Linea T-Jet's braking. This car gives you the ability to push when needed, with the confidence that it will stop better than needed.

- The suspension has been tuned extremely well, even better than the already wonderful Linea. It is noticeably stiffer and the car is more composed, whist offering a better flatter ride. Minor and major undulations alike do nothing to unsettle the car, and it edges you on to corner it harder and harder, maintaining a steadfastly composed line every single time.

- The steering remains communicative and full of feedback, and there is nothing new to add in this regard. It is noticeably lighter than the pre-2012 Linea's setup though.

- Shift quality remains rubbery as ever. It is quite obvious Fiat don't seem to believe that gearshifts are important to enthusiasts. This has been a flaw that they ought to have worked on after 6 years of constant bashing by users.

- Torque steer! Torque steer! Torque steer! Wheel spins galore. Floor it in 2nd and it still does a wheelspin, sometimes even in 3rd. Better tyres should have been put on this car. Why did they fit Apollos on this car with a miserly 195/55 dimension?? I would have preferred beefier tyres with better grip on the tarmac, just to put the power down better if not for the looks.

All in all, a nice hot hatch which can make some serious progress on the highway. I wouldn't call it an explosive missile or any such adjective, it doesn't feel all that explosive compared to the old Linea T-Jet. However, it can decimate some bigger cars a few segments higher, and it is definitely a very capable all round package for the enthusiast who is looking for some fun with a manual power hatch.

Last edited by KarthikK : 25th October 2015 at 18:34.
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Old 25th October 2015, 18:25   #25
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by NiInJa View Post
Talking about the seating position, I think taller people will find it a bit awkward, but at 5'8'' I feel perfectly at home in my brother's Linea, even the underthigh support is good. The steering feels closer to the chest but it is not a deal breaker anyway.
The clutch, brake and accelerator pedals are placed higher than Linea in the abarth punto. I also sat in the Linea for the first time and found the driving position, seating position and the overall ergonomics much better than punto.

Took a test drive of black punto abarth yesterday for about 5-6 kms and here are my observations.

Start the engine and there is hardly any noise inside the cabin which is typical of a petrol car.
However, mash the throttle and once the turbo spools, you get a gentle yet sporty exhaust note, surely sweet sounding !! I engaged first gear with the clutch fully depressed and started releasing the clutch but the car did not move an inch in middle of the traffic after the lights turned green. That’s because the de-clutch effect did not take effect until 2/3 of the clutch pedal is released. The gear box does feel rubbery while engaging 1st and 2nd gear but the shifts for 3rd and 4th gears are very smooth. That could be due to the running in required for the gear shift to get smooth as mentioned by many. There is turbo lag for a considerable time in the second and third gear. The lag is higher compared to a Ford Figo diesel. But once the turbo kicks in, the pull is very very strong. The torque is so strong that its diesel like. I cornered at around 100 KMPH and the car was very stable and confidence inspiring. Couldn’t go beyond 110 at third gear due to the traffic. I heard a beep sound everytime I crossed 100 kmph and the SA informed its a setting in that TD car (pre-production) and it will not be found on the production version. Braking is excellent and stops exactly where you want even from high speed without a fuss. Although the ground clearance is reduced, the car doesn’t scrape over road humps. I deliberately went over a huge hump at 25-30 kmph and the car did not bottom due to its stiff suspension setup.

Overall this car is unlike any other in the 10L bracket. Seriously I felt the rubbery gearbox is not at all a deal breaker and it seems its been hyped too much. The clutch although placed high with long travel is not stressful on the knees. I felt the clutch is lighter (requiring less effort to depress) compared to Figo.

Abarth punto is really a commendable attempt by FIAT for giving us a high performance hatch at a very affordable price. All the bashing that is going on seems nitpicking considering the car is priced below 10L ex showroom. Sure, I would love to see a cruise control added at this price but I don’t ask for anything more.

It is sad to see there is just one booking reported by firstguri for the abarth punto on TBHP. Why am I not buying this ? Well, I am currently looking at a car in the D-segment but this Abarth is a strong contender in the 10L bracket. IMO, I feel people hesitate to buy a FIAT because it doesn’t carry the brand value of a VW. Now, please don’t turn this thread also into a war zone.
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Old 25th October 2015, 18:31   #26
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by super.cars View Post
I heard a beep sound everytime I crossed 100 kmph and the SA informed its a setting in that TD car (pre-production) and it will not be found on the production version.
Speed warning is a feature and can be turned off or configured for different speeds via the my car setup.
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Old 25th October 2015, 18:38   #27
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

I had expressed my interest to take a test drive to nkrishnap. He had given my number to Aadya motors.
I got a call from Aadya motors for the Launch event at their dealership yesterday evening. A test drive was scheduled before that.

My wife and I went there at around 2PM. When I parked the car in the basement I saw an Avventura powered by Abarth. I had to show my wife the badge on the door for her to make out the difference. The Abarth Punto wasn't there.

As we entered the showroom, Mr. Deepak introduced himself (he had called me) and Sales guy Prajwal.
The formalities were completed within 15 minutes and I could take the test drive when the vehicle came back after a previous test drive.

An Abarth Punto under a silky red cloth ready to be unveiled in a small ceremony.

Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review-20151024_162424.jpg

there were around 15 people who had come to attend the event and also to take a test drive
I took some time looking at the brochure.

The test drive vehicle came after sometime and we went out. It was the pearl white one and the first thing my wife told "Cheee this looks bad, the graphics on our car is so nice"
I told her that the red around the fog lamps must go and also the stripes on the bonnet and the boot

Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review-img_20151024_155020.jpg
The car and its tacky stickers
Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review-20151024_154830.jpg

I then got the key and immediately I saw the Abarth logo on it (that's the only logo I haven't changed in my car) and then the boot release button like the linea and which I always wanted in my car.
The sales guy told me that I have to go ahead a little and take a u turn to join the open highway. and then he told that I can drive till I'm satisfied.

Opened the door and immediately saw the Abarth logo scuff plate.
Then I was welcomed by the all black interiors (even the roof lining is black) which is just to my tastes.
I hate the greys and beiges in the majority of cars that we have in the market today.

My wife liked the interiors very much compared to our 2010 Punto.
As soon as I sat on the seat, I felt at home. I missed the armrest though which I have added to my car.

I started the engine and it was difficult to make out if it was really on.
as soon as I started, I could make out the power difference even without the turbo kicking in. Obviously so, its got more than double the power of my 1.2

Very soon I joined the highway which was empty because of the long weekend. Just the recipe for a test drive of a performance car.
I floored the pedal and as soon as the car reached 2000rpm, I was pushed back lightly to the seat and the car just took off.
before I could see the speedo, it was doing 120kmph.
My wife asked my "how is it?" and seeing my face she told "ok I got it"
But the best was yet to come. I braked hard and without a flinch of any muscle the car came down to 60kmph while maintaining her line.
This was the best part of the car IMO. My grin which was already end to end stretched its boundaries.

Other than that, the amazing handling, amazing dynamics, Great steering feedback was all the usual. nothing new to write.
The gear stick however didn't feel nice. especially the first gear. Maybe it needs a little more time (the car had just run 600kms).
For people talking about the gear throws, it felt a little less than my car, but long nonetheless

To sum up:
  • Power available at the tap of the pedal-anytime you want it.
  • Turbo kicked in at 2000rpm with a very small lag noticeable.
  • Between 3000 to 4000rpm, it looked dull
  • Amazing brakes. Just gives you so much confidence.
  • All black interiors is amazing although a dust magnet
  • Even after my spirited drive, the FE was 9kmpl which
  • The red and black stitches looks very nice
  • Finally! the Punto has got an Engine it deserved.

After all this, I returned to the showroom which was ready for the unveiling of the car.
The top brass of the dealership removed the covers off the car and boy the black one was a looker! even with all those red overdose.

Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review-img_20151024_164423.jpg

The first customer was invited and a key was handed over and they cut a cake.
We were given some refreshments and while having that, I came to know that 18 booking have been made with this dealer and 4 cars will be delivered next week.

With my car having completed 5years and 72k kms, this is temping me to change to it. Although I'm sold, the decision is pending approval from my better half!

Before going home, I clicked a photo of the fake and real Abarth Punto
Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review-20151024_170408.jpg
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Old 25th October 2015, 18:54   #28
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

I'm not much of a hatchback guy, but the first glance of this car and it's specifications sent my head spinning. Always been a great fan of Abarth and the famous scorpion. Hope I get to drive or ride shotgun on one of these very soon.

Would love to see a detailed comparison between this and the Polo GT TSI.

Herr Volkswagen, you've finally got some serious competition.
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Old 25th October 2015, 19:42   #29
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
I had expressed my interest to take a test drive to nkrishnap. He had given my number to Aadya motors.
I got a call from Aadya motors for the Launch event at their dealership yesterday evening. A test drive was scheduled before that.
Glad I could be of some help, more so as you had made repeated requests right from the Abarth 595 launch to join us for the review. Since the drive happened at a very short notice I could not inform you, at least I could this

So when are you getting one home?
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Old 25th October 2015, 19:47   #30
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto - Test Drive & Review

Just a couple of quick question?

1) Is it a 5 Speed Gearbox or a 6 Speed?

2) Approximately what would be the cruising speed?
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