Fiat is a brand that has always appealed to enthusiasts, but hasn’t really been setting the sales charts on fire in India for a variety of reasons. However, the company is planning to bring in a car that will really please enthusiasts even more, although it could be priced at a bit of a premium.
Fiat is apparently planning to introduce the Fiat Punto Abarth in India later this year – and build the car locally at its plant in Ranjangaon, Maharashtra. This car would be a true “hot hatch” with the power and handling to match, although it would be at least Rs. 2 lakh more than the regular Punto, putting the Punto Abarth’s price between Rs. 8 lakh and Rs. 9 lakh.
If reports are to be believed, the Punto Abarth would be powered by a 1.4 litre T-jet engine (the same engine that powered the Linea T-Jet). However, it may increase the power output of the engine from the existing 114 bhp to as high as 165 bhp, using a different turbocharger and engine mapping, with a five-speed gearbox. At present the Fiat Grande Punto petrol variant is available in 65 bhp (1.2 litre engine) and diesel in 90 bhp and 75 bhp (1.3 litre) engine variants. Also read: Refreshed Fiat Punto to drive into India
Fiat will likely use the existing body shell of the Punto – with Abarth decals and graphics on the body panels – with the four-door hatchback style to continue. The brakes of the Punto Abarth will be upgraded to deal with the additional power and there will be tweaks to the suspension as well to help in better handling. Tyres and shock absorbers too will be different from the existing Punto to help in harnessing that extra power. Also read: Fiat Punto Sport launched
The car will be sold through existing new Fiat dealerships, but is likely to have a separate space within these dealerships to give it that Abarth exclusivity. Apparently, Fiat may also consider setting up individual Abarth dealers too.
If the Fiat Punto Abarth does make it into India this year, it will be the most powerful hatchback below the Mini Cooper S, and will be a lot more affordable. It will open up the hot hatchback space as well, and also pave the way for competitors such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Fiesta hatch to enter the market in the Rs. 8 lakh – Rs. 11 lakh price segment for hatchbacks – a space not yet explored. Also see: New Fiat Punto Video Review
Source: AutoCar India