Fiat Qubo MPV

September 15th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Fiat Qubo MPV fq

Fiat has released the first pictures of Qubo, which will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show in October offering a people mover capable of using as little as 3.8 l/100 km and targeting the market sector that is seen as the next big thing in Europe.

Built on the Fiat same platform as the Fiat Punto already on sale in New Zealand, the Qubo offers 16 different combinations of seats and load space area, including a fold down front seat that allows objects as long as 2.5 metres to be loaded inside, quite an achievement for a vehicle that is only 3.9 metres long! And, despite its diminutive exterior size, it has a load space that can expand up to 2.5 cubic metres or offer spacious comfort for five occupants and still have a 330 litre boot under its luggage cover.

The Qubo arrives in market sector that can be said have been first identified by Fiat with its Idea model, a people mover based on a small hatch back, to produce a car that is economical and easy to drive as the car on which it is based, but with the interior space of larger conventional cars. With taxes based on carbon dioxide emissions sweeping across Europe, Qubo’s ability to offer a C02 figure of just 119 g/km enables it to be in the low tax, as well as low emissions bracket without being a small, cramped car inside.

Making these emissions and economy figures possible is the same 1.3 litre turbo diesel engine that has made the Fiat 500 JTD one of the most economical cars available in New Zealand, and it is matched to the Dualogic gearbox that has economy and performance of a manual gearbox and ease of use of an automatic.

Fiat 500 Lounge 1.4 2008 Review

August 6th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

fiat-500-lounge-fq

The Fiat 500 is not really a new styling idea. The retro angle has almost been done to death by the likes of Volkswagen, BMW, Ford and GM, all of whom have dusted off past designs and put a modern spin on the theme that was the cause of so much success in the past. And all have been successful from it, BMW particularly so with the MINI.

Now Fiat wants a piece of the pastiche pie and given the historic importance of the 500 to Fiat (and the sales precedent set by the MINI) it looks to have the makings of a winner.

Walking round the new 500 you really can see that it has the old 500’s design DNA. The lights at the front, the little ‘moustache’ on the nose, the waistline crease below the windows are all trademarks of the original. Despite being front-engined (the original 500 had the engine in the back), even the rear looks similar to the original.

Of course it is nowhere near as petite as the original (much like the MINI) and does look a bit portly from the rear but the original lines are still there, however distended.

The interior is like a really trendy party. The kind you never get invited to. It looks so glamorous and the people so alive with verve and joy, and when you finally get to go to one, you see that it is as good as you’d imagined it would be, but you start to feel slightly uncomfortable there, like you don’t fit in.

The interior really is very stylish and looks great, but just like the original Cinquecento the driving position for a tall driver is as accommodating as a sleep-deprived prison guard. The seating position is quite high and the steering wheel is adjustable for rake, but not reach. That’s where the problem starts. The Fiat 500 has enough legroom for tall people, but this comes at the expense of having to adopt a gorilla-like driving position.

I couldn’t get comfortable in the little Fiat. It was either that the steering wheel was too far away when the seat was in the right position or legroom was compromised with the steering wheel within reach. At 192cm maybe I’m just too tall for the Fiat!

Despite the awkward driving position, every time I saw the 500 parked I was excited to get in again and drive. There is something that attracts you to it. It really does have a lot of character.

The interior atmosphere is first-rate with the materials used on the seats, dash and steering wheel giving a quality feel to the inside and making it a nice place to be.

The standard glass roof along with the light-coloured interior makes the cabin feel very airy and the round all-in-one speedo/tacho was very cool and easy to read. Even the key looks like it hangs around with the in-crowd (you can also purchase optional key covers from Fiat).

The centre console plastics look a bit shiny but the functions for the heater/radio are easy to use and the circular design is very chic.

The driving experience, like the looks of the car, is unique and requires a different driving style. The 1.4 litre engine is rev-happy and when pushed gets along at a decent rate and sounds rorty.

The six-speed manual has a slightly vague throw, but this is part of the experience, as it allows you an exaggerated arm gesture every time you change gear, if you are so inclined.

Even though the majority of Fiat 500s are likely to be parked outside fashionable urban cafes, back-roads are what the Fiat enjoys and where you can have some fun. The suspension is susceptible to a bit of ‘pogo’ action over bumps and along uneven roads, which can be annoying on the motorway, but on back roads it adds to the excitement and adventure. The little Fiat is a bouncy, buoyant character that has fun when you have fun.

Grip is fine and the stability control maintains control over excess body movements.

The ‘Hill-holder’ feature is very handy and helps by braking the car for a second or so as you easy the clutch out to prevent you from rolling backward. A bonus for those who don’t like handbrake hill-starts.

The big question for the Fiat 500 is how it stacks up to the opposition.

Given the ‘cute retro angle’ has been the preserve of the MINI for quite some time now, the Fiat at $31,990 (as tested) for the most expensive petrol model (1.4 Lounge) compares favourably to the MINI One ($29,900-$35,900).

The MINI does have a better quality ride and can accommodate the ‘talls’ amongst us, but the Fiat’s engine, the standard features (USB, Bluetooth, voice activation) and the character exuded by the 500 make it a serious alternative to the now quite common MINI.

Price: from $26,990 ($31,990 as tested)

What we like

  • Interior style
  • Glass roof
  • Exterior styling charm
  • ‘Hill holder’ system

What we don’t like

  • Driving position for tall people uncomfortable

Fiat 500 Specifications

BODY TYPE
VERSION 1.4 SPORT 1.4 LOUNGE 1.3 LOUNGE
TRANSMISSION
ENGINE FEATURES
FUEL TYPE PETROL 95 RON PETROL 95 RON DIESEL
NUMBER AND LAYOUT OF CYLINDERS 4 IN LINE 4 IN LINE 4 IN LINE
TOTAL DISPLACEMENT CC 1368 1368 1248
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.8:1 10.8:1 17.6:1
MAXIMUM POWER KW 74 @ 6000 74 @ 6000 55 @ 4000
MAXIMUM POWER HP 100 @ 6000 100 @ 6000 75 @ 4000
MAXIMUM TORQUE NM 131 @ 4250 131 @ 4250 145 @ 1500
TRANSMISSION
NUMBER OF GEARS (MANUAL) 6 PLUS REVERSE 6 PLUS REVERSE 5 PLUS REVERSE
PERFORMANCE
TOP SPEED KMH 182 182 165
0-100 KMH 10.5 10.5 12.5
CAPACITIES
TOWABLE LOAD KG – TRAILER WITH BRAKES 800 800 800
FUEL TANK CAPACITY IN LITRES 35 35 35
KERB WEIGHT KG 930 930 980
BOOT (litres) 185 185 185
DIMENSIONS IN MM
LENGTH 3546 3546 3546
WIDTH 1627 1627 1627
HEIGHT 1488 1488 1488
WHEELBASE 2300 2300 2300
WHEELS ALLOY 185/55/15 ALLOY 185/55/15 ALLOY 185/55/15
LUGGAGE SPACE 185 LITRES 185 LITRES 185 LITRES
FUEL CONSUMPTION LITRES PER 100 KM
URBAN (CITY USE) 8.2 8.2 5.3
EXTRA-URBAN (HIGHWAY) 5.2 5.2 3.6
COMBINED (37% OF URBAN & 63% OF EXTRA-URBAN 6.3 6.3 4.2
EMISSION CONTROL AND THE ENVIRONMENT
LEVEL EURO 5 EURO 5 EURO 5
CO2 (g/km) 149 149 111
PARTICULATE FILTER (DIESEL ONLY) X X S
CATALYTIC CONVERTER 3 WAY 3 WAY OXIDISING
FUEL VAPOUR PREVENTION (PETROL ONLY) S S X
EXHAUST GAS RECIRCULATION (EGR) DIESEL ONLY X X S
SERVICE INTERVAL (KM OR 12THS, WHICHEVER IS SOONER) 30,000/ 12MTHS 30,000/ 12MTHS 30,000/ 12MTHS
PRIMACARE (WARRANTY AND ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE)
DURATION OR MILEAGE 3 YEARS/ 100,000KM 3 YEARS/ 100,000KM 3 YEARS/ 100,000KM
OPTIONS
SAFETY
EURONCAP 5 STAR SAFETY RATING S S S
ABS S S S
ELECTRONIC STABILITY PROGRAMME (ESP) S S S
DRIVER AND PASSENGER AIRBAGS S S S
DRIVER AND PASSENGER SEAT AIRBAGS S S S
DRIVER KNEE AIRBAG S S S
RH AND LH WINDOW AIRBAGS S S S
INERTIA FUEL CUT OFF SWITCH S S S
FOLLOW ME HOME HEADLAMPS S S S
DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS S S S
DRIVERS SEATBELT REMINDER SYSTEM S S S
DRIVER AND PASSENGER SEATBELTS WITH PRETENSIONERS S S S
ALL SEATS (4) WITH 3 POINT SEATBELTS S S S
ISOFIX CHILD SEAT RESTRAINTS S S S
AUSTRALIAN REAR CHILD SEAT RESTRAINT ATTACHMENTS S S S
ELECTRIC POWER STEERING S S S
FIAT CODE ELECTRONIC ANTITHEFT S S S
COMFORT
AIRCONDITIONING S X X
DUAL ZONE CLIMATE CONTROL X S S
REMOTE CENTRAL LOCKING S S S
HEATED AND ELECTRIC DOOR MIRRORS S S S
2 REAR HEADRESTS S S S
SPLIT AND FOLDING REAR SEATS S S S
ELECTRIC FRONT WINDOWS S S S
STYLE
LEATHER UPHOLSTERY $1,500 $1,500 $1,500
CHROME KIT NA S S
LUXURY PACK (CONTAINS BLUETOOTH, LEATHER GEARKNOB & STRG WHEEL) S S S
OPENING GLASS SUNROOF $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
FIXED GLASS ROOF X S S
15″ LOUNGE ALLOY WHEELS 431 X S S
15″ SPORT ALLOY WHEELS 432 S X X
16″ HOT ALLOY WHEELS 420 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000
16″ SPORT ALLOY WHEELS 435 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000
FRONT FOGLAMPS S S S
RADIO WITH CD PLAYER S S S

Words Ben Dillon – Photos Darren Cottingham

Fiat Grande Punto Abarth now in the UK: 500 Abarth to come (+specs)

July 29th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

fiat-grande-punto-abarth

Fiat has relaunched the Abarth brand and has given the Grande Punto the Abarth treatment.

Grande Punto combines space, accommodation and flexibility with state-of-the-art technology and a rewarding driving experience which lends itself perfectly to Abarth engineering.

But that’s only the start: an Abarth version of Fiat’s new 500 supermini has just been launched in mainland Europe, and is scheduled for a UK introduction early next year.  And there are further exciting plans in the pipeline. Abarth’s fast-paced roll-out has initiated an expansion of its production capability in the division’s new home at the Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy. These new premises group together Abarth’s manufacturing, motorsport, engineering, design and management departments.

Three versions of the Grande Punto Abarth will become available in the UK later this year: the 1.4 T-Jet priced from £13,500 on-the-road, and two further upgrade offers promising even more driver involvement. The first tuning kit, known as Assetto, is designed to enhance the chassis of the car, including the brakes and suspension. The kit includes ventilated and cross-drilled front brake discs, and cross-drilled rear discs, high performance (softer) front brake pads, special shorter (-15/20 mm) springs and 18-inch white painted alloy wheels fitted with 215/40 ZR18 Pirelli P Zero tyres.

The second option — known as the esseesse (SS) kit — primarily increases the power of the engine, and is only available in conjunction with the Assetto kit. It adds several components including a special air filter, a larger Garrett turbocharger, new injectors, larger diameter freeflow exhaust system, and a revised engine control unit with esseesse software. All of this boosts engine performance from 155 bhp to 180 bhp. Visually, the £3,500 esseesse kit includes unique logos for the tailgate, wing mirror covers and engine cover.

Compared with the standard Grande Punto, the Abarth’s track has been widened by 6 mm; it is equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels and the option of contrasting striping bearing the Abarth name along each side. The front bumper has been specially redesigned and houses the headlights set in a dark surround, while the larger air intakes, adapted to cater for the turbocharged engine’s cooling requirements, are enhanced with an exclusive Abarth design.

The sideskirts, wheel arch rims and black plastic underbody complete the fairing on the lower section, which is profiled to boost aerodynamic performance and extends as far as the tapered rear bumper. The Abarth badge is clearly visible, positioned in the centre of the front grille, the rear hatch, and on both flanks, at door handle height.

Inside, the Abarth touch is equally apparent. The charismatic Abarth scorpion badge is positioned on the passenger side of the dashboard, for example, while the ‘carbon effect’ central console is decorated with a textured cube motif. The car’s instrument panel has been given a sporty new design, and the same smart finish is used for both the steering wheel and gear stick — black leather with red stitching.

Driver and front passenger seats have also been designed to capture the style and driving experience of Abarth. Both have built-in head restraints, lumbar support and excellent lateral thigh support. On request, the seats and central dashboard section can be finished in full grain leather.

A comprehensive equipment package includes a host of safety and comfort-enhancing features. Safety features include window airbags, side airbags, height adjustable driver’s seat, Blue&Me hands-free communications system, foglights, rear head restraints, ABS and ESP. The importance of safety is also shown by the fact that ESP comes as standard and cannot be deactivated. Equipment designed to enhance comfort includes a radio/MP3 player, fully adjustable steering wheel, air conditioning, dark tinted windows, electric front windows, Dualdrive electric power steering and cruise control.

The launch of the Grande Punto Abarth is a tribute to an ‘army’ of small Fiats from the 1950s and 1960s, that were given a tough, dynamic and sporty edge by the ‘magic hands’ at Abarth. They were ‘scorpions’ with a real sting in the tail, igniting the passion of thousands of drivers with a taste for challenge, speed, and Italian flair. Today, the Grande Punto Abarth is the first of a series of road and competition cars aiming to bring back those former glory days of excitement, success and high performance.

The Grande Punto Abarth is fitted with a 1.4 turbo (T-Jet) petrol engine, delivering 155 bhp. Combining with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the engine gives the car a top speed of 129 mph, and a 0-62 mph acceleration time of just 8.2 seconds. The Grande Punto Abarth is not just a high performing small car — it is also safe, and respectful of the environment. Safe because the tuning is not limited to the engine and the aerodynamics: the car’s brakes and chassis set-up have also been upgraded and professionally engineered to cope with the improved performance.

Developed to combine the sporting performance and low NVH characteristics of a high-tech petrol engine with fuel economy comparable to a diesel unit, and CO2 emission levels which readily comply with increasingly stringent European regulation, the 1.4 litre T-Jet engine in the Grande Punto Abarth is already a well proven, durable and responsive engine.

Through cubic capacity downsizing allied to the adoption of a small turbocharger, this remarkably responsive 155 bhp 1.4 litre T-Jet engine delivers a performance equal to or better than a conventionally aspirated 2.0 litre engine with a reduction of between 10% and 20% in fuel consumption and emissions.

Employing state-of-the-art computer aided design and calculation systems to simulate unit stress under turbocharging, every aspect of this latest 1.4 litre powerplant has been re-evaluated. Three-dimensional computational fluid-dynamics studies of the entire thermodynamic cycle, injection phase and the engine cooling circuit, as well as thermo-mechanical analysis of cylinder head, block and piston stress, resulted in comprehensive redevelopment of the combustion system, intake and exhaust manifolds, camshaft profiles and phasing, intake system, engine coolant circulation and spark plugs.

Compared to the superseded 1.4 FIRE engine from where it traces its lineage, the Grande Punto Abarth’s 1.4 T-Jet engine features optimised intake port and manifold design; a revised injection system and a bespoke spark plug design to improve knock resistance and pre-ignition; a reduction in both inlet and exhaust valve lift time to optimise air mass flow; a reduction in compression ratio from 11:1 to 9.8:1; piston, connecting rod and crankshaft redesign; a new, reduced volume exhaust manifold for maximum exploitation of the exhaust pulse energy, and improved engine cooling efficiency through a revised coolant path and a redesigned water pump impeller.

Excellent combustion characteristics have allowed for the adoption of a notably small turbocharger. With a turbine diameter of only 33 mm, this highly compact and responsive unit is located directly above the exhaust manifold, with the attendant catalytic converter close-coupled to the turbine exit.

Via a ‘drive-by-wire’ throttle system, the 1.4 litre T-Jet engine provides outstanding low-end torque, almost entirely devoid of the lag in power delivery traditionally associated with turbocharger installations.

Via a Sport Boost button located in the centre console of the Grande Punto Abarth, the engine will deliver an impressive 169 lb ft of torque at 3000 rpm, (152lb ft in normal mode), endowing the vehicle with a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 129 mph. Notwithstanding such strong performance, this superbly responsive powerplant will nevertheless return over 40 mpg in the combined cycle and restrict CO2 emissions to just 162 g/km.

Additionally use of the Sport Boost function modifies the amount of steering effort required by the driver, so as to give a sportier feel.

Grande Punto Abarth is eco-friendly because, despite having far more horsepower than the model on which it is based, it complies with the same legislation on noise and emissions (Euro 4 approved engine). Developed by Abarth’s team of specialist designers and engineers, along with the technicians who produced the Fiat Grande Punto (one of Europe’s most successful cars), the Grande Punto Abarth is factory-built, and is subject to all the regulations and rigorous checks applied to standard models.

For top stopping power the car is equipped with disc brakes all round; the front brakes being ventilated and equipped with powerful Brembo fixed four-piston callipers.

The Grande Punto Abarth’s suspension is based on the tried and tested set-up of the Fiat Grande Punto, which means MacPherson struts and anti-roll bar at the front and torsion beam suspension at the rear, but it is significantly modified. The anti-roll bar has been thickened (diameter 19 mm), the front springs are 20 per cent stiffer, and the ride height is lowered by 10 mm. With this combination in place, the car provides impeccable road holding and enhanced driver involvement while maintaining a high standard of comfort.

ASSETTO AND ESSEESSE KITS

The Assettoand esseesse kits, which are delivered to customers packed in original wooden crates — in keeping with Abarth tradition — may only be sold and installed by the official network of Abarth Assetto Corse tuners on a Grande Punto Abarth 1.4 Turbo T-Jet 155 bhp. This conversion must take place within one year or 20,000 km (12,000 miles) from its first registration. Conversions are covered by a two-year Abarth warranty from the installation date.

Fitted with the full esseesse kit, the Grande Punto Abarth has more than twice the power of the basic Fiat Grande Punto model (a statistic repeated throughout Abarth’s history: the Fiat 500 from 1958 had 13 bhp, while the Abarth-modified car boasted 26). With the full Abarth treatment and fitted with a 1.4-litre 16v turbo engine enhanced to 180 bhp (at 5750 rpm) and with a maximum torque of 272 Nm at 2750 rpm, (200 lb ft), the Grande Punto Abarth esseesse can achieve a maximum speed of 133 mph, accelerating from 0-62 mph in just 7.5 seconds. The modifications to the brakes and suspension contained within the kit mean the Grande Punto Abarth is more than capable of transmitting all this power to the road in a usable, safe and enjoyable manner.

The finishing touches to the kit include 18-inch alloy wheels and various mechanical modifications to alter the car’s dynamics, for example: the special set-up (both the front and rear suspension are lowered by a further 20 mm compared with the standard Grande Punto Abarth), and the enhanced braking system (the front discs are cross-drilled and fitted with softer, high-performance pads).

An integrated product, the esseesse kit is also safe, since the engine cannot be tuned unless the brakes are enhanced and the set-up is modified at the same time. All this will only be possible at Abarth tuning centres.

As a first step up from the standard Grande Punto Abarth, a handling (Assetto) kit is offered, which includes springs that lower the ride height by 15-20mm, special front brake pads, cross-drilled front disc brakes and alloy wheels with very low profile tyres. The full kit, comprising engine and chassis modifications (esseesse) includes: Garrett GT 1446 turbocharger which increases boost pressure from 1.3 to 1.5 bar, new water and oil pipes to the turbo, new exhaust manifold, heat shield, complete injector rail, MAP sensor, boost sensor, modified catalytic converter, larger diameter exhaust, new intercooler pipework, adapted radiator pipe, new water pump, wastegate valve, and new engine ECU.

SUPER SUPERMINI

The second car to receive Abarth’s exceptional engineering work is the iconic 500, which set the motoring world alight following its launch in July 2007. Faithful to the ‘small but wicked’ phrase coined for Abarth cars in the 1950s, the new 500 Abarth, which is making its mainland Europe debut this summer, is a small car with stunning performance. Powered by a similar 1.4-litre 16-valve Turbo petrol engine, it delivers a maximum 135 bhp at 5500 rpm and peak torque of 206 Nm (152 lb ft) at 3000 rpm in ‘Sport’ mode. In ‘Normal’ mode the maximum torque becomes 180 Nm (132 lb ft) at 2500 rpm.

The new 500 Abarth is rapid but also environmentally aware: just like the regular Fiat 500, it is built to Euro 5 standards well in advance of forthcoming legislation. The Abarth version also features the new TTC (Torque Transfer Control) feature which improves the transfer of drive torque to the wheels but, above all, ensures that the car behaves impeccably while cornering, making it even safer and more entertaining to drive when travelling at speed.

Like its Grande Punto stablemate, the 500 Abarth is no mere styling exercise. The assertive yet practical design is driven by the need to improve the 500 Abarth’s performance. Perhaps the best demonstration of this set-up is the particular care and attention that went into the aerodynamics and functionality of certain elements of the car. Compared with the basic car’s body, for example, the 500 Abarth has improved dynamic performance thanks to the extension of the roof with a large fin spoiler, and a ‘slide’ from the underbody to the air intakes, taking in a large section of the rear bumper. Two tailpipes are fitted on either side of this ‘slide’, placed symmetrically at the outlets to a single silencer positioned transversely. (They also have the Scorpion logo, just like they did in the 1960s.)

The front of the car also clearly demonstrates the 500 Abarth’s sporting credentials. There’s a triple air intake — the central one being larger than on the series model — and a much broader opening above the number plate. Additionally, two symmetrical ‘nostrils’ on each side of the bumper correspond exactly to the position of the two identical intercoolers, which can be seen through these apertures, guaranteeing optimum intake and airflow.

The nose, with its Abarth logo, has also been extended forwards to make space for the turbocharger, which gives the 500 Abarth a more pronounced, dramatic side profile, in keeping with the best Abarth tradition. On the old 850 TC and 1000 TC models, the external elements that made them so collectable were highly visible and recognisable as characteristics of the brand.

As with Grande Punto Abarth, the Abarth coat of arms appears on the flanks, pierced by a tricolour lightning bolt, just like on the Abarth 595 and 695 from the 1960s, symbolising the brand’s racing heritage. Sideskirts envelop the curves of the car, creating a more vertical profile and improving the Cd. Lastly, the 16-inch or 17-inch wheels come in a variety of different styles, including a multi-spoke and a holed version (a clear reference to certain stylistic features of forged wheels in the 1970s).

Inside, the 500 Abarth has a decidedly sporting feel, with special instrumentation and an analogue turbo pressure gauge. The main instrument panel has sporty graphics and includes a boost gauge/gearshift indicator, while the three-spoke steering wheel features special thumb-grips and is ‘flat’ at the base to make it easier to adjust. The distinctly ‘racing’ feel is also in evidence in the pedals, which are aluminium with rubber inserts, in the gear lever knob (upholstered in leather with a sporty, more ergonomic grip) and in the ‘unified’ seats with head restraints built into the seat backs. Lastly, the roof lining and side trims are black, giving the cabin an appropriately sporty look.

GRANDE PUNTO ABARTH 1.4 T-JET (155 BHP)

Engine
* 4 cylinders in line, 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cc
* Power: 155 hp at 5500 rpm
* Max torque 206 Nm at 3000 rpm (230 Nm at 3000 rpm Sport Boost mode)
* Drive-by-wire throttle with no mechanical connection
* Garrett IHI RHF3-P10.5 fixed geometry turbocharger
Transmission
* 6-speed gearbox
* Dual cable external gearbox drive
Suspension and steering
* MacPherson strut front and anti-roll bar
* Torsion beam suspension at the rear
* Lowered sports suspension
* Electric power steering with Sport Boost mode
Brakes
* Fixed front calliper: Brembo M4x40, four piston
* Ventilated front brake disc ø 305 mm x 28 mm
* Rear calliper with piston ø 54 mm
* Rear brake disc ø 264 mm x 11 mm
Bodywork
* Deepened front and rear bumpers
Wheels & Tyres
* Aluminium alloy, 7″ x 17″
* Tyres: 215/45R17
CO2 emissions
* 162 g/km
Fuel consumption
* Urban consumption: 29.4 mpg
* Extra-urban consumption: 53.3 mpg
* Combined consumption: 40.9 mpg
Dimensions
* length 4041 mm
* width 1721 mm
* height 1490 mm
Weight
* 1185 kg
Performance
* Top speed 129 mph
* 0-62mph 8.2 secs

GRANDE PUNTO ABARTH (180 BHP) ‘ESSEESSE’

Engine
* Four cylinders in line, 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cc
* Output: 180bhp at 5750 rpm
* Max torque 272 Nm at 2750 rpm
* Drive-by-wire throttle with no mechanical connection
* Garrett GT 1446 fixed displacement turbocharger
Transmission
* 6-speed gearbox
* Dual cable external gearbox control
Suspension and steering
* MacPherson strut front and anti-roll bar
* Torsion beam suspension at the rear
* Lowered sports suspension
* Electric power steering with Sport Boost mode
Brakes
* Fixed front callipers: Brembo M4x40, dual piston
* Ventilated front discs ø 305 mm x 28 mm
* Rear callipers with piston ø 54 mm
* Rear discs ø 264 mm x 11 mm
Bodywork
* Deep front and rear bumpers, spoiler, sideskirts
Wheels & Tyres
* Aluminium alloy, 7″ x 18″
* Tyres: 215/40 ZR18
Performance
* Top Speed 133 mph
* 0-62 mph 7.5 secs

500 ABARTH 1.4 16V TURBO T-JET (135 BHP)
Engine
* 4 cylinders in line, 4 valves per cylinder, 1368 cm3
* Power output:  135 bhp at 5500 rpm
* Peak torque: 206 Nm at 3000 rpm in Sport Boost mode
* Fixed geometry IHI RHF3-P turbocharger
Transmission
* 5-speed gearbox C510
Suspension
* Front: MacPherson strut and anti-roll bar
* Rear: Torsion beam with anti-roll bar
* Lowered sports suspension
Steering
* Dualdrive Electric power steering with SPORT mode
Brakes
* ZPH 4.1.2 floating front calliper, ø 54mm piston
* Ventilated front brake discs, ø 284 x 22 mm
* CII 34 floating rear calliper, ø 34 mm piston
* Rear brake discs, ø 240 mm x 11 mm
Wheels & Tyres
* Standard: 6.5″x16″ aluminium wheels. Tyres: 195/45 R16″
* Option: 7″x17″ aluminium wheels. Tyres: 205/40 R17″
Ecology level
* Compliance with the Euro 5 CEE-F5 standard
CO2 emissions
* 155 g/km
Fuel consumption
* Urban consumption: 33.2 mpg
* Extra-urban consumption: 52.3 mpg
* Combined consumption: 43.4 mpg
Performance

* Top speed: 127 mph
* 0-62 mph: 7.9 secs

Safety
Passive Safety— as for Fiat 500
Active Safety— ABS, ASR, ESP etc
Standard Equipment — Grande Punto Abarth

* Radio/MP3 player
* Rear spoiler
* Sideskirts
* Window airbags
* Red Brembo brake callipers
* Side airbags
* 17-inch alloy wheels
* Height adjustable driver’s seat
* Fix&Go tyre repair kit
* Blue&Me
* Audio hi-fi system
* ESP
* Remote central locking
* Adjustable steering wheel
* Air conditioning
* Electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors
* Dark tinted windows
* Foglights
* Leather steering wheel and gear knob
* Locking petrol cap
* ABS anti-lock braking
* Electric front windows
* Dualdrive electric power steering
* Rear head restraints
* Cruise control

Other standard features:

* Six-speed gearbox
* Body-coloured door handles
* Lowered suspension
* Chrome tailpipes
* Sports instruments
* Immobiliser
* Electric internal boot release
* Illuminated boot
* Trip computer
* Passenger airbag deactivation

Fiat 500 vs. Audi Q7 in crash test (+video)

July 29th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Q7080044

While small cars like the Fiat 500 and MINI are tempting many people away from bigger, thirstier machines, a fact that is often unconsidered is what happens when a small car collides with a much larger vehicle?

Germany’s biggest car club, ADAC carried out this crash test to see what would happen when the 5-star Euro NCAP Fiat hit an Audi Q7 SUV.

Whether this video is indicative of a real crash scenario or not is up for argument.

Fiat 500 gets the green nod at the What Car? Green Awards

July 28th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

fiat-500-side

The award-winning Fiat 500 supermini has received further confirmation of its green credentials after scooping top honours for its 1.2 Pop version in the Green Supermini category of the What Car? Green Awards in London.

The awards, which took place at the British International Motor Show, were designed to highlight and recognise the UK motor industry’s most economical and environmentally-friendly cars.

The Fiat 500 is currently Car of the Year 2008 and has won a host of other accolades including CAR Magazine Car of the Year, Fifth Gear SmallCar of the Year, EuroCarBody 2007 and Auto Europa 2008.

Commenting on the latest honour, Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of What Car? says: “The Fiat 500 is the perfect green city car. It’s small, chic and, with an efficient petrol engine, it’s low on CO2 and equally harmful local pollutants.”

Available in New Zealand with a choice of three frugal, ultra-low emissions, Euro 5-ready engines: 69 bhp 1.2-litre and 100 bhp 1.4-litre petrol, or 75 bhp 1.3-litre MultiJet turbodiesel, the new Fiat 500 can be ordered in three different trim levels — Pop, Sport and Lounge.

With a starting price of just $26,990, the new Fiat 500 represents outstanding value for money and positions the car well below its benchmark rivals. At the top end of the range, a highly specified version with a larger engine costs only $31,990 — a price that includes air conditioning and alloy wheels as standard.

Stay tuned to Car and SUV as we will be bring you a full review on the Fiat 500 very soon.

Fiat finds flattery offensive: Fiat sues Great Wall over Panda clone

July 24th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

gwperi

If the saying that ‘imitation is the greatest form of flattery’ is true then Fiat should feel very flattered at Great Wall’s homage to the Fiat Panda.

Fiat has won a case in Europe against Chinese automaker Great Wall (who will have cars in New Zealand soon) for copying the Fiat Panda design and selling it as the Great Wall Peri in China and planning to sell it in Europe.

The Turin court ordered Great Wall to pay 15,000 Euros (NZ$32,000) for the first Peri imported, and 50,000 Euros (NZ$105,000) for each unit that Great Wall bring in, effectively ending any chance that a Peri will ever been seen in Europe.

This is not the first time that a Chinese automaker has ‘borrowed’ designs from another company, as Honda had it’s CRV ripped-off and sold in China as something else a few years back. What may seem like a lack of imagination in car design on the part of the Chinese is actually more like the desire for record executives to have have hit after hit by using the same formula.

MINI SUV could be on the shared BMW-Fiat platform

July 22nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

mini-suv-crossman

News of the MINI SUV said to labeled ‘Crossman’ and to debut at the forthcoming Paris Motorshow could utilise the partnered platform from BMW and Fiat has come to light.

The platform is touted to be under consideration for the new Fiat Punto Grande, the Alfa Romeo MiTo and the MINI Crossman. It has been substantiated that the platform codenamed C-Evo will be used for the new Alfa 147 and could house either FWD and AWD set-ups.

While the look of the MINI Crossman has caused considerable debate, it looks unlikely that BMW won’t produce it. The big MINI is due out in 2015.

BMW and Fiat contemplate getting into bed together

July 10th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

The BMW Group and Fiat Group Automobiles (FGA) are considering the possibility of co-operation in the areas of components and architectures for their Mini and Alfa Romeo vehicles.

As part of possible cooperation, BMW Group will provide FGA with support in launching the Alfa Romeo brand in the North American market.

A Memorandum of Understanding to this effect has been signed by Friedrich Eichiner, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Corporate and Brand Development, and Alfredo Altavilla, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Fiat Group Automobiles and CEO of Fiat Powertrain Technologies.

“We are currently examining with the Fiat Group possibilities for the joint use of components and systems in Mini and Alfa Romeo vehicles in order to achieve economies of scale and thus cost reductions within the framework of our Number ONE strategy”, Eichiner said on Monday in Munich.

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Group and Fiat Group Automobiles, said: “The proposed co-operation with BMW is a significant cornerstone of our strategy of alliances. We are delighted to work with such an esteemed and respected partner in the automotive industry with the clear objective of improving the competitive position of both parties.”

The two partners have agreed not to divulge details of the possible collaboration. The results of the cooperation discussions will probably be achieved by the end of the year.