Well and truly, the cat is out of the bag. Fiat India has begun testing the Punto EVO T-jet on Indian roads and it is just a matter of time before the car is unleashed at a Fiat showroom near you. As anticipated, the new Punto variant will feature the 1.4 liter-4 cylinder T-Jet turbocharged, intercooled petrol motor. This engine already does duty in one of Fiat’s cars sold here, namely the Linea sedan. From here on, things get interesting. While the turbo petrol motor makes 112 Bhp-207 Nm on the Linea, the same engine is said to pump out nearly 133 Bhp-207 Nm on the Punto T-Jet. What gives? A new turbocharger, apparently.
Now, the 1.4 liter turbocharged petrol motor, by virtue of running a fixed geometry, water cooled turbocharger, can be configured for multiple states of tune. You have the same engine making 112 Bhp-207 Nm in one state of tune, while adding variable valve technology (Multiair in Fiat speak) bumps up outputs to nearly 133 Bhp-207 Nm. This engine, on the Fiat Abarth 50o, is further tweaked to make a whopping 158 Bhp-230 Nm on the Abarth 500, and even 178 Bhp-272 Nm on the Abarth 500 SS. Well, this is what forced induction can deliver, in spades. However, the 1.4 liter T-Jet engine in 133 Bhp-207 Nm state of tune on the Punto EVO hatchback seems unlikely, rumours notwithstanding.
We’re saying this as a new turbocharger + variable valve technology getting added to the 1.4 liter engine doesn’t really justify the low volumes potential of a hot hatchback in India. The Italian automaker is unlikely to expend efforts and resources to import a T-Jet motor in a new state of tune for India. With the Linea sedan – Fiat’s current flagship car – using the T-Jet engine in 112 Bhp-207 Nm state of tune, it is unlikely that the automaker would want the Punto EVO Turbo to outdo its flagship car as far as power and torque stakes go.
Playing devil’s advocate, let’s consider why Fiat could bring a more powerful state of tune for the Punto T-Jet. Since the Avventura too is expected to gain turbo petrol power, Fiat will have a hedge of sorts to try out a new state of tune, which so far has been available only on the MultiAir version of the engine. The new state of tune for the T-Jet motor could also make it to the Linea sedan, if Fiat is indeed testing a 133 Bhp version of the engine for the Punto EVO. In this way, Fiat could cover both bases, maintaining the premium appeal of the Linea T-Jet, while pitting the Punto EVO Turbo as the country’s most powerful hatchback.
Also, Abarth badging means that Fiat could sell the high performance versions of the Punto, Avventura and 500 under a new sub-brand, delineating the cars from the mass market centric Linea T-Jet. Disc brakes on all four wheels of the car will aid stopping duties of the more powerful version of the Punto and Avventura. If the speculated price tag of under 10 lakh rupees comes good, the Punto Turbo Petrol will deliver thumping value. That, in a nutshell, will seal the deal for the enthusiast brigade. The Punto and Avventura T-Jet variants are pitted to hit the car market here sometime during this year’s festive season.