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Old 25th November 2015, 09:56   #1
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Default Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

The Fiat Abarth Punto has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 9.95 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

Finally, a hot hatch for which you don't need to break the bank!
Explosive performance from the 145 horsepower turbo-petrol engine
Outstanding dynamics & stability. Very satisfying to drive
Perfectly calibrated & weighted hydraulic power steering
A+ braking ability, thanks to the all-round disc brakes
Gorgeous Italian design (minus the vinyls), now with sweet 16" Scorpion rims
Solid build quality. Feels like a tijori on wheels

What you won't:

Long throw, rubbery gearshift is a major turn-off. Long clutch too
Awful cabin ergonomics. Driving position is weird!
Limited rear bench space. Also, interior fit & finish are way behind the Germans & Koreans
Garish body stickers & red highlights are an eyesore
Merely 155 mm of ground clearance. We have our concerns
Fiat's after-sales quality remains a gamble. Network has limited spread across India
At 12 lakhs on-the-road, more equipment (ESP, TC, parking sensors, auto-dimming IRVM, electrically foldable ORVMs) is expected

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2015 at 10:04.
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Old 25th November 2015, 09:56   #2
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Since the Fiat Punto has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on changes made to the Abarth Punto. For easy reference, here are direct links to the complete road-test:

2009 Fiat Grande Punto: Link

2014 Fiat Punto Evo: Link

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2015 at 10:03.
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Old 25th November 2015, 09:56   #3
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Ideally, I would have started this review ranting about how Fiat has been dragging two (almost insignificant) cars in India, without really working towards boosting sales or increasing its market share, or how slow and confused their India-specific strategy seems to be with a dwindling dealer network, or how they're just happy seeing Maruti add to their cash register (as per the 1.3L diesel engine agreement), but I'm not going to do that.

Rather, I'm going to stand up from my seat and applaud. In a market where cars compete to drive farther and farther on the last drop of fuel, here's a manufacturer that has challenged others to beat its 8.8 seconds 0-100 kph time. I love how Fiat does this. It has once again ensured that the lost smile from the faces of petrol-heads is back...a smile which was part of the standard equipment with the legendary Palio 1.6L. That 100 BHP hatchback came when most sedans sold here hadn't seen that kind of power. Some years later, when Fiat identified the petrol Linea's asthma problem, it rolled out the 1.4L T-Jet, India's first turbo-petrol sedan. Ideally, that engine should have made its way into the Punto too. After all, it was a simple copy + paste job. But Fiat waited, pondered and decided to take things to a whole new level by getting the Abarth Punto in a 145 BHP tune!

For all of its poor sales numbers, you have to credit Fiat with one thing - they give the enthusiast the tools he desires. The Palio 1.6, Linea T-Jet and now the Abarth Punto.

I'm actually a sucker for hot hatches. I think these make the most sense, especially in cities with ever-increasing vehicular traffic. In the past, we've experienced some hatchbacks which packed some serious performance, but were given a cold shoulder by the market. The Palio 1.6L, Fusion 1.6L, SR-V 1.6L (if you could consider this?), Corsa Sail 1.6L, Getz 1.5L CRDi and Polo 1.6L petrol were faster examples of regular hatchback models, all of which came when the market was just not ready for them. The acceptance of the Polo GTs in the recent past proved that the country is slowly receptive to small cars with big performance, even if their sticker price creeps beyond the million rupee mark.

Since this Italian supermodel arrived in India in 2009, it was dynamically and visually a treat, let down only by the pedestrian powertrains. Enthusiasts pleaded with Fiat to introduce an engine option that would complete the car. Yes, the Punto 90HP came but...well, there was scope for more, much more. 6 years later, Fiat has finally done it right. At last, we get a performance car for which we don't have to break the bank. Launched at Rs. 9.95 lakh (ex-Delhi), the Abarth Punto has enough muscle to put some cars thrice its price to shame (more on that later). Throw in some more dough on performance modifications and you are talking 160 - 170 BHP at a fraction of the cost!

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Virtually, this Abarth Punto is identical to the regular Punto Evo 90HP, save for the H-O-T 16" Scorpion alloy wheels and a weird + wacky colour theme. This car is available in only 2 colours - Hip Hop Black and Pearl White. Whichever colour you opt for, red highlights and hit-or-miss body decals come in as standard. There is a massive Scorpion on your roof too! As a teenager, I'd probably love this sticker job, but as of today, I find it cheesy. Fiat should have made the stickering optional and I'm sure most BHPians would just want to remove them. Thankfully, these can be peeled off without much fuss, leaving you with only red ORVMs and fog lamp surrounds (front and rear) to take care of. If the Polo GT treatment was too subtle for you, this Abarth treatment is too loud! In my opinion, sportier exterior colours like an Electric Blue or a Race Red would have done the job in a better and more subtle way. The regular Punto is available in a lovely red shade, it's a pity that colour isn't offered on the Abarth.

In terms of pricing, you'll pay 2.6 lakhs over the 1.4L Emotion variant, 2.2 lakhs over the 1.3L Diesel Sports 93 PS and 18k over the Linea T-Jet Emotion. Fiat has definitely messed up in terms of equipment - the Abarth could've had more at a price of 12 lakhs on the road. The cheaper Linea T-Jet gets cruise control, leather seats, auto headlamps, auto wipers, front armrest, parking sensors...all missing on the Abarth Punto.

Gone is the chrome treatment from the front. Instead, the Abarth Punto gets a black grill and red foglamp housing. Projector headlamps from the Avventura concept would've been a nice addition:

Other than the LED tail-lamps and new foglamp + reverse light surrounds, very little has changed at the rear since '09:

The length, width and wheelbase are similar to the Evo. It is lower than the Evo by 20 mm (1,505 mm vs 1,525 mm for the Evo). The wheel well gap is nice & smaller:

Choose between 'Pearl White' and 'Hip Hop Black' body colours. Paint quality is good. Red highlights and vinyl are part of standard equipment. Most of us will find them gaudy and would rather have them removed:

I love the Abarth's "Give speed a complex" tagline:

Two hot hatchbacks, both legendary in their own special way :

Red lipstick-like treatment replaces the chrome foglamp surrounds. Looks very tasteless:

Trivia: The Scorpion represents the zodiac sign of Karl Abarth (founder), and also stands for power & speed. The green, white and red colours on top symbolize the Italian flag. The emblem's shape appears like a shield which stands for strength, while the two colours of the main badge - red and yellow - indicate the affiliation of the brand with motorsports:

These red vinyls won't be to everyone's taste. Fiat should have made the stickering optional:

No, this car doesn't get rain-sensing wipers or auto headlamps...

...nor does it get electrically foldable ORVMs. They do have integrated turn indicators though...and are red!

The 16" Scorpion rims look sexy. The ones on the pre-production version looked hotter due to their detailing:

I never knew that these door handles actually symbolize the car's body shape. Even in the Abarth Punto, these are in chrome. Flap-type mechanism seems ancient now:

Sporty side skirts. The Abarth vinyl on the side doesn't look too bad:

If these are a little too much for you, just peel 'em off. It's that simple:

Rear disc brakes are a welcome addition! The Apollo Alnac tyres are good, but with the kind of power the Abarth Punto packs, this 195 section rubber isn't enough (especially for on-the-limit driving). If you are going to corner, upgrade to higher quality rubber with a 205 patch:

Massive Scorpion logo on the roof is attention grabbing:

The go-faster stripes extend till the boot:

Like the 90HP Sport, the Abarth Punto also gets a roof spoiler:

LED tail-lamps look stunning in action:

Check out the various elements inside:

Scorpion logo on the boot too:

Notice how Abarth have ditched the 'Evo' suffix:

Single reversing lamp. The one on the right is a foglamp. The rear looks clean with minimal badges:

Lipstick-like treatment here too:

Muffler tip looks like an after-thought. I'm not a fan of the design either. It's lifted from the Linea T-Jet:

If there is a 10 lakh car that can motivate you to wake up early on a Sunday morning & blast down your favourite road, this is it!

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2015 at 10:14.
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Old 25th November 2015, 09:56   #4
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On the inside

All-black interiors carried forward from the 90HP Sport version...with subtle differences:

This steering wheel isn't only for steering - it's for holding on to . Leather-wrapped with the Fiat logo replaced by Abarth's. The buttons on the wheel are hard and give a clickey feedback:

Drivers will need to revise their seating position because of the limited tilt range and lack of telescopic adjustment:

Premium quality leather-like insert to hide the ugly bits behind the steering:

New Abarth instrument cluster - yellow dial rings with red needles. Even the tachometer has rpm x 1000 (vs x 100 of the Evo):

A closer look at the Abarth branding here:

The ignition slot is located at a weird angle on the steering wheel column. A start / stop button would have added a nice touch to the Abarth:

Same key as the Linea...

...but this one has the Abarth logo at the back:

No rain-sensing wipers or auto headlamps. These stalks were a bit of a stretch for my fingers:

Controls for the MID, headlamp levelling and foglamps (front & rear), with a storage drawer below:

All-black doorpads:

Pull the front door handle once to unlock and a second time to open the door. Rear doors can be opened with a single pull. These switches are a stretch for any driver - very poorly placed. All 4 windows have a one-touch down function (with some effort), but only the driver gets one-touch up as well. Power windows also get the very convenient, delayed function. Interestingly, they remain lit at all times when the car is on:

Fabric door armrest which neither the driver nor the front passenger will be able to use comfortably, especially because of the distance between the doors and front seats:

Abarth door sills:

The same ol' seats from the Punto Evo with an added mesh for better lumbar and under-thigh support. These offer excellent lateral support. Driving position is very weird - most people will hate it:

Zooming in on this soft mesh. I loved the feel of the suede-like material around it:

The recommended tyre pressure:

Silver pedals aren't part of standard equipment; they're an expensive Rs. 16,000 accessory. The foot well is very cramped:

The dead pedal is positioned excessively high. If you end up resting your left foot here, your knee will bend uncomfortably. I'd recommend not using it at all:

ORVMs remain unchanged. At this price, they should have had the electric-folding feature:

Bluetooth Voice Connect system - you can finally stream audio from your smartphone. You can only pair your phone when the car is at a standstill. The voice command system understands Indian accents most of the time and I got used to it very quickly. The system can even readout messages from your phone:

It doesn't display the song name anywhere; just the elapsed time. Sound quality is decent at normal volumes. It's bass-oriented. Crank up the volume and the sound will distort:

Unlock the boot with this button. The ones next to it are dummies:

Each air-con vent can be shut off individually. Tasteful borders around the piano black areas add a premium touch:

On a hot afternoon, the air-con did a decent job of keeping the cabin temperatures low. Good enough, but not extraordinary:

Fiat has ditched the Microsoft Blue&Me tech from this Punto. 8 out of 10 times, you will end up placing your smartphone in the shallow cupholder. With acceleration and braking, it will keep rocking back & forth. Can hinder with gear changes too:

Focusing on the red and yellow stitching at the gear lever's base & on the seats. The gear knob is the same 5-speed one as before:

Below is a storage cubicle with a rubber base to prevent the rattling metal sound. An odd location for the 12V power socket though:

Premium, leather-like material in the handbrake console:

Black headliner looks very nice too:

Switches for the interior lights are hard and felt crude. The lights turn on & off in a theatre-like dimming fashion (on door operation):

No auto dimming mirror. In terms of features, the game sure has moved on since the Punto's original launch:

Ticket holder for the driver and a vanity mirror for the missus:

The dashboard fascia has a soft touch material:

Interestingly, all the switch gear as well as the audio and ACC controls remain backlit during the day. You can control the intensity of the dashboard backlight too from the MID. Only the ambient light turns on with the headlamp's activation:

Silver surround for the vents:

There's an additional hidden compartment in the glovebox:

Notice the footwell area protruding inside? That is the reason why the front passenger will have to keep his / her left leg towards the right. As a result, he / she will be seated in a slightly twisted position causing fatigue...and even back pain over longer distances:

Height adjustable front seatbelts:

Spring-loaded grab handles:

The dark and dingy rear is hardly inviting. If you buy this car, your seat time here will be minimum:

No Abarth door sill here:

The rear bench offers decent support:

Legroom is limited. Two seatback pockets provided:

Another silly ergonomic flaw: the rear air-con vent is located a bit too ahead. Let's say you manage to sit behind a 5.10" driver and try to adjust the fins on you. The airflow will get obstructed by the front backrest, minimizing or negating the utility of the air-con:

Adding to the claustrophobia at the back is the rear glass which cannot roll down completely:

280L boot. The loading lip is high. Notice how Fiat has the lip area nicely carpeted to avoid any damage to the paint work while loading / unloading heavy items:

195/60 spare with a 15" steel wheel (regular wheels are 16"). Spare is limited to 80 kph:

Last edited by GTO : 26th November 2015 at 18:10. Reason: Both front door handles require a 'double pull' to open
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Old 25th November 2015, 09:56   #5
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Finally gets an engine to match its dynamics:

This is the same 1,368 cc turbocharged, 4-cylinder petrol engine from the Linea T-Jet, with significant changes made to it. Thanks to BHPian PatchyBoy for sharing the differences between the Linea T-Jet and the Abarth Punto:
Originally Posted by PatchyBoy View Post
1. Turbo Charger
2. Exhaust Manifold
3. Intake Camshaft
4. Exhaust Camshaft
5. Intake Air Fuel Module
6. Pressure Sensor After the Intercooler
7. Boost Pressure and Temperature Sensor on Intake Manifold
8. Fuel Rail
9. Spark Plugs
10. Injectors
11. Battery
12. Blue & Me control unit removed. Replaced with Uconnect
13. Obviously different maps
The Abarth gets a bigger VL38 turbo (vs VL37 of the Linea). Result of all the enhancements: 145 horses (@ 5,500 rpm) and 212 Nm torque (@ 2,000 - 4,000 rpm). Its claimed 0-100 kph time is 8.8 seconds and the car can cover 1 km from a standstill in 30.4 seconds. Let's get one thing out of the way first - there is absolutely NO other petrol car (apart from the Octavia 1.8 TSi) this side of 25 lakhs that can match the Abarth Punto's performance. This car is seriously FAST and if performance is what you are after, your search ends here.

Take the key in your hand and the Abarth logo reminds you this is no ordinary Fiat. Place the key in the awkwardly positioned ignition slot, crank the starter and you'd probably expect a throaty rumble from the exhaust, or an aural drama to convey the performance intentions. Unfortunately, that isn't the case here. It is almost dead silent, with minimal engine / exhaust sound in the cabin.

Within the city, some amount of lag from that big turbo is there. The Punto is certainly not dead below 2,000 rpm and there is enough pep for commuting, but it's not overly sharp either. City driveability is acceptable, not extra-ordinary. You'll do well in keeping the engine rpm above 1,500. When it drops below that, you have two options - be patient or downshift. Spend some time understanding its behaviour and you will be able to work around the lag. Once the rev needle climbs beyond 1,600 rpm, the turbo is waking up and the Punto begins to show some kind of urgency. Once past 1,900 rpm, the engine really starts to demonstrate what the Abarth badge is all about.

Reach 2,300 rpm and you'll be wrestling its brilliant steering wheel to keep the car in line, due to the torque steer (especially in gears 1 & 2). The violent boost makes it very easy to spin the 195 section Apollo Alnac tyres. Depending on your perspective, it can be entertaining or annoying, but this torque steer is characteristic of powerful FWD cars. To better control it and get superior acceleration times, you must swap the tyres to higher quality 205 mm rubber. Even the Linea T-Jet with lesser power gets 205 mm tyres!!

Keep the accelerator buried and the Abarth Punto will reward you with brutal acceleration. You will be pushed back into your seat. On the open road is where the fun really begins. You'll find yourself maxing out the revs time and again, with a wide grin plastered on your face. Few cars this side of the expensive Germans can match the Punto's performance. Remember, we're talking about a power to weight ratio of 121 BHP / Ton here! In fact, the Punto would've been even faster in the dash to the 100, if it weren't for the 2nd gear maxing out at 92 kph (thus requiring an upshift). Keep the rpm needle above 2,000 and power delivery is instantaneous. Overtaking is as easy as 'point & shoot', no planning required. Highway performance in 3rd & 4th gears is devastating. If you've got a pulse, you'll find it impossible to drive this car sedately - the Abarth Punto feels like an absolute hooligan on the open road. Stay in the turbo zone and you'll fly past regular cars on the highway. And the engine is pulls strongly even at high triple digits. It's so easy to reach silly speeds that you actually have to watch the speedometer to keep things in check. The rock solid stability also conceals the real speed, but we'll talk about that later. We hope that Fiat organises a drive on the Buddh circuit as we're pretty sure she'll cross its rated top speed of 190 kph.

While the engine revvs to ~6,500 rpm, you can feel power tapering off as you near 6,000 rpm. The turbo-petrol is reasonably revv-happy, although not as much as the explosive VW TSIs & Honda Vtecs. Like the Linea T-Jet, the Abarth is most enjoyable in the 2,000 - 5,500 revv range.

In terms of cruisability, 100 kph comes up at 2,300 rpm in 5th gear. Importantly, she's right in 'turbo zone' at that point. All you need is a light dab on the throttle to increase the pace. However, like in the city, turbo lag can catch you out if you let the rpm level drop too low on the highway. Only solution = downshift.

Thanks to the turbo, even after all that fire power under the hood, the Abarth Punto actually has an ARAI fuel efficiency figure of 16.3 kpl. The naturally aspirated petrol variants of the Punto carry an ARAI rating of 15.8 kpl for the 1.2L and 14.4 kpl for the 1.4L. Of course, don't expect anywhere near that number in real-world conditions. What'll make the fuel economy worse is that no owner will be getting this car to drive sedately. An enthusiastic right foot will see FE dive. But then, you don't buy a 145 BHP hatchback for economy, do you?

While the engine is silent at lower revs, it does get audible as the revv needle climbs. Personally, I liked the sound. What's sorely missing is a soundtrack from the exhaust - disappointingly, there is none!! You naturally expect a sporty sound from such an enthusiastic engine, and after-market pipes will be a popular modification for sure. I would love a throaty exhaust note for some aural pleasure. In terms of vibrations, at idle, there is a mild vibration felt on the seat base and steering. Even otherwise, the motor isn't as refined as in some Japanese / Korean cars.

Now comes the worst part of this package - the gearbox. It is by far the worst gearbox in the premium hatchback segment. The throws are on the longer side and the shifts are rubbery. The gearbox is nowhere as sure-slotting as a Polo and neither does it support fast shifts. This just takes away from the whole experience of having a fast engine with an MT. A car like this deserves a slick-shifting transmission. The gearbox used (FPT C510 5-speed) is the same one found in the Linea. Main reason? Costs. Here's some trivia - the max torque rating for this gearbox is 206 Nm, still it supports 207 Nm in the Linea and 212 Nm in the Abarth Punto. It's also the reason why there isn't much of a difference in the torque rating from the Linea when the BHP gain is so much.

The clutch is another annoyance. Yes, it is light enough, but the throw is long. 3 out of 5 people who drove the Abarth managed to stall it with the same complaint - it doesn't give that feedback midway. I found the clutch action to be weird. After driving around for over 2 days, I experienced some pain in my left knee. The awkward positioning of the dead pedal only made matters worse. If you wish to rest your leg on it, your knee will be bent very uncomfortably. You'll just be happier resting your left foot on the floor instead.

We all have always had nothing but praises for the Punto's driving dynamics due to its fabulous chassis and perfect suspension tuning. The superior engine only amplifies this car's capability. Fiat claims to have tweaked the suspension slightly. It feels tighter than a regular Punto. Ride quality is firm at city speeds and you'll definitely feel more of the road than in the cheaper Punto variants that ride on 15" wheels. Still, it's compliant enough - you won't complain of crashing through normal potholes or bumps, but sharp ones will come through to the cabin. It is at high speeds where this car really shines. The ride quality is absolutely flat and the Punto is unfazed by road irregularities. As the speedometer climbs, the suspension's maturity shines through. The faster you go, the better the ride quality gets. Highway bumps are simply discarded with disdain. It even recovers very well after hitting an uneven spot. There is none of that vertical (bobbing) movement that you'd find in hatchbacks with a softer suspension setup.

Drive it back to back with a regular Punto and you'll immediately notice the lesser body roll (Abarth Punto sits 30 mm lower). The car corners impressively and its composure is superb, even under hard cornering. Where other hatchbacks would back off the throttle, you can continue at the same speed, thanks to the brilliant suspension. In that respect, the Abarth Punto behaves like a much more expensive / bigger car. It won't give up on the intended line, understeering only on the limit. The tyres though are unimpressive - they reach the end of their ability much before the car itself does. We reiterate that you must upgrade to premium 205 mm tyres. That will take the dynamics to a different level. As with the regular Punto, straight-line stability is rock solid. With the potent engine, it's easy to reach ridiculous speeds in this 'tijori' without ever realising it.

The Punto is one of the rare cars to still use a hydraulic steering and what a steering it is! It's like a match made in heaven - engine, chassis, suspension and this steering (don't know how that lame gearbox found its way here). For city driving, the steering is heavy. Those used to light & effortless EPS units won't like the heaviness in the city. You will feel its weight even more while maneuvering this car into a tight parking spot. However, get into a spirited driving mood and there's all the feedback that you could have asked for. The hydraulic steering is precise and sharp. It's perfectly weighted on the open road, and you are aware of what the front wheels are up to. The Abarth Punto has a turning radius of 5 meters which is comparatively much better than before (2009 Punto = 5.4 meters). We have our concerns on the 155 mm of ground clearance. It's lower than any mass market hatchback. Considering that owners of the regular Punto complain of the under-body scraping, this can be a serious disadvantage. Will leave final verdict to Team-BHP ownership reports.

Complimenting that performance are the superb brakes. Quite rightly, Fiat has equipped the Abarth Punto with disc brakes on all 4 wheels. The way this car reaches triple digits, you need a good set of anchors to bring that speed down. The brakes are absolutely top class. In fact, these inspire even more confidence in the driver to push harder and brake later.

This 1.4L T-Jet motor is fully imported:

Red Scorpion logo is a sign of the serious performance this engine packs:

Uses an IHI VL38 turbo by FPT vs the Linea's IHI VL37. Bigger turbo = more boost:

Co-branded Exide battery:

Firewall insulation is generous:

Under-bonnet insulation:

Drive this car how it's supposed to be driven and it will empty the 45 litre fuel tank in no time:

Protection underneath:

155 mm of ground clearance is much lower than the regular Punto. In fact, it's the lowest from any mass market hatchback:

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2015 at 11:01.
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Old 25th November 2015, 09:56   #6
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Other Points:

• BHPian nkrishnap has also shared an excellent review of the Abarth Punto - link.

• There was some confusion whether the Abarth Punto has 145 BHP or 145 PS (143 BHP). We confirmed with Fiat - it's 145 BHP.

• The first service of the Punto is at 5,000 kms / 6 months, 2nd service at 15,000 / 12 months and 3rd at 30,000 / 24 months. Service interval is 15,000 kms / 12 months after the free services.

• The standard warranty is for 3 years / 1,00,000 kms. Extended warranty isn't available yet.

• Unlike the Polo GT TSI, this car won't appeal to regular folk or women due to its heavy steering and messed up ergonomics. While the Polo GT appeals to both - the comfort and the performance seekers; this Fiat will only appeal to the hardcore driving enthusiasts.

• Localisation level is 80%. Remember, the engine is imported.

• If you need something a little more above the ground, the Abarth-powered Avventura is also available with the same engine (5 BHP and 2 Nm torque less), at a nearly identical price.

• As of now, there are only 4 exclusive Abarth dealerships in India - Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.

• Fiat is head-quartered in Mumbai. Despite that, and Mumbai being India's financial capital, there is NOT a single Fiat dealership in Mumbai. A sorry state of affairs.

• This is the second offering from the Abarth stable after the recently launched 595 Competizione. 595 uses the same engine in a higher state of tune.

• Fiat could consider introducing a cheaper variant of the T-Jet Punto with the Linea's engine tune at a lower price, to attract a wider audience. But they won't. If they wanted to, they'd have done it already.

• Asking the obvious question = When will the Linea get this engine? Will the Linea get the Abarth treatment at all? If it doesn't, this will be the first time that a hatchback is more powerful than its sedan sibling in India.

• The rear stabilizer (anti-roll) bar is listed once again on the Abarth's spec sheet. It was there on the 2009 Punto's data sheet, but disappeared when the Punto lost some weight. We can't say for sure whether this is reintroduced on the Abarth only, or is also there on regular Puntos.

• To increase the life of your turbo, do follow the guidelines on this thread.

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2015 at 12:46.
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Old 25th November 2015, 10:43   #7
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Official Reviews. Thanks for sharing, rating thread a full 5 stars!

Superb review of a superb performance car. The Abarth Punto has the sprinting ability, handling & steering to match / beat cars from 2 - 3 segments above. In the hands of a skilled driver, this is a seriously fast machine. Great times for the enthusiast with the Abarth Punto, Polo GT TSI & S-Cross 1.6 in showrooms right now. These three manufacturers deserve applause for offering fast cars in a market dominated by boring, fuel-sipping 1.2L hatchbacks.

In many ways, the Abarth Punto reminds me of the erstwhile Octavia vRS. ~150 horses, pure hydraulic steering, solid dynamics & stability, strong all-wheel disc brakes, teutonic build quality & backing by a weak manufacturer. Even their power to weight ratio (Octavia vRS = 117 BHP / ton) and 0 - 100 times are in the same ballpark. Unlike the Punto however, the Octavia vRS had top-notch quality and equipment levels going for it. It was a very premium package for its time.

Mark my words, the Abarth Punto will go on to become an icon just like the Octavia vRS is today.

She's not for everyone though. The Fiat brand is enough to take it off the consideration list of a lot of people out there. After driving so many Puntos & Lineas, I still can't find my perfect driving position. The ergonomics suck, as does that lame gearbox.

Last edited by GTO : 25th November 2015 at 10:45.
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Old 25th November 2015, 10:55   #8
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Closing outlook, cancelling meetings, getting hooked to Team BHP. The most awaited review is here. Awesome.
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Old 25th November 2015, 10:58   #9
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Finally, the official review is out.

Just a small correction, the engine sump guard is metal and not plastic.
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Old 25th November 2015, 11:05   #10
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Why is the "full size" spare wheel rated for a maximum of only 80 kmph? I love the little details in t-bhp reviews like that oval shaped under-bonnet insulation; clear indicator of Italian need to style everything IMO. Love the dials and the metal sump guard too

Personally feel like the car is priced way too high for a product at the end of its life-cycle. All one is getting is the motor and hydraulic steering. The mostly uncomfortable and as a result less confidence inspiring ergonomics, gearbox and shift quality, silly cheap apollos, lack of ESP and slightly gaudy styling (still love the first gen Punto with that beautiful cheese-grate grille) all come together to really make one ask why spend so much is it just for the Abarth logos? The car will definitely have its fans but I don't think it will be as appreciated by the rest of the automotive community as the Palio S10 or GTX was and according to me that is a pity considering it wears the Abarth badge.

Last edited by IshaanIan : 25th November 2015 at 11:10.
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Old 25th November 2015, 11:09   #11
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Great Review S2

I really want Fiat to do well & gain back the respect of the purists with the Abarth Punto
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Old 25th November 2015, 11:11   #12
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Category 1:Some manufacturers have the car and the engine ready and refuse to mate the two. (Ford, and now Maruti)
Category 2: Some manufacturers struggle in the market without good products. (Chevy)

Category 3: Some just dish out supremely capable products like this one, but are failures (in terms of volume) overall.
Fiat has done a supremely good job! I'm so happy that they're treading away from the regular trend and making powerful cars, rather than fuel efficient ones. The car is simply too powerful.

May I ask why an Abarth owner needs so many stickers to get noticed? He'll be noticed anyway when he leaves the traffic behind.

Ford and Maruti are category 1 as far as I'm concerned. Both have the car and the engine ready. The Figo and Baleno deserve the 1.0 Ecoboost and Boosterjet respectively.
Baleno can afford to get the engine as it's a 'premium' nexa product.
And ford better not repeat the mistake it made with the older Figo.
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Old 25th November 2015, 11:15   #13
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Brilliant review - deserves 7 stars.

Agree with the awkward seating, and the gearshift. I still struggle to find a good seating position after 6+ years of ownership.

Why is the engine imported ? AFAIK, the T-jet on the Linea was imported initially, then manufactured locally . FIAT had reduced the prices ~40K when local manufacturing started.

Will 205mm wide tyres fit well on the alloys without bulging out ?
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Old 25th November 2015, 11:16   #14
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Excellent review. I hope this wonderful car helps usher in a new set of buyers into the Fiat fold. Everyone talks about Fiat's service being below par but in in my experience, it actually isnt when compared to some of the biggies.

We have owned numerous Fiats over the years - Premier Padmini, Uno, 1.2 Palio and the 1.2 Punto. Currently our family garage consists of the i10, Nano, UVA, the above mentioned Punto, a new Ford Figo and a Jazz CVT. My dad isnt a petrol head but he likes driving and he finds the Punto the most enjoyable car in our garage. I can only imagine the grin on his face if he takes a test drive of the Abarth Punto.
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Old 25th November 2015, 11:21   #15
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Default Re: Fiat Abarth Punto : Official Review

Originally Posted by IshaanIan View Post
Why is the "full size" spare wheel rated for a maximum of only 80 kmph?
That is because the running wheels are 195/55 R16 and the spare is 195/60 R15. Not sure if it can be called "Full Sized Spare". It is not a space saver though.

Last edited by PatchyBoy : 25th November 2015 at 11:24.
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