Half a decade ago, in 2010, the Fiat Linea introduced India to affordable turbo petrol cars, with the T-Jet variant. Ever since, many more turbocharged petrol cars have been launched in India. Clearly, turbo charging seems to be the way forward for petrol powered engines, at least for the near future. In October, Fiat will launch the Punto Abarth, a car that uses a reworked version of the Linea T-Jet’s 1.4 liter turbo petrol engine. On the Punto Abarth, this motor will make 143 Bhp and 210 Nm, making the hatchback the most powerful car that money can buy for under 10 lakh rupees. Months later, this very engine will make it to the Avventura Abarth too.
[Image courtesy CarSpyshots]
Meanwhile, sales of the Linea are at an all time low. 98 units dispatched in August 2015 doesn’t make for happy reading, does it? First introduced in 2009, as Fiat’s comeback car, the Linea is an old horse now, at least to the majority of car buyers in India. The facelift, which came a year ago, hasn’t really done anything to make the car more exciting, and a replacement isn’t on the horizon at least for the next couple of years. So, where does the Linea go from here the? Back to its roots. According to AutocarIndia, Fiat is said to be mulling an Abarth edition of the Linea, on the lines of the Punto and Avventura.
Fiat cars have always tugged at the heart, and purse strings of enthusiasts. These Italian cars have heavy builds, pliant rides and reassuring handling. On the back of encouraging response for the Punto Abarth, Fiat India is said to be keen on trying the Abarth experiment on the Linea as well. “If you can’t sell your cars to the teeming majority, you might as well cater to enthusiasts”, seems to be the motivation behind this move. Also, selling fewer cars, profitably, to a small set of buyers rather than going after big numbers after heavy discounting, is a move that many intelligent car makers make. The money is coming by selling diesel engines to Maruti anyway.
If the Linea Abarth does materialize, the car is expected to use disc brakes on all four wheels, which is something that’s already available on the T-Jet variant. A lowered suspension set up, made stiffer to handle the extra poke, is another likely upgrade. Slightly tweaked interiors and decals plastered on the outside are a couple of allowances that could show the car’s sporty intent. Given that Fiat has extensively tested the new tune on the 1.4 liter T-Jet engine, adapting this motor to the Linea should be straightforward. Now, how about a short shifter for the Abarth range, Fiat? Is that such a hard thing to implement?