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Punto Abarth 2015 - Test Drive and Review

Discussion in 'Abarth' started by nkrishnap, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Punto Abarth - 2015

    Pic 1.jpg

    • A strong turbo charged motor under the hood
    • All round disc brakes with top-notch braking ability
    • Lowered Ground Clearance
    • Stiff suspension setup without too much impact on the ride quality
    • Handling improved further with the lower stance and rear stabilizer bar
    • Still a looker with all the red stickers on the car
    • Gorgeous Scorpion Claw alloys
    • A sub 10 Lakh rupee sticker price
    • ICE update - Bluetooth Streaming now available
    • Solid Build quality


    • Rubbery Shifts, though improves over extended usage. A slick shifting box would have enhanced the pleasure of driving.
    • Finding the ergonomically optimum seating position is still a challenge at the first instance.
    • Misses out on the Gizmos like auto folding mirrors, reverse camera, auto headlamps and wipers which the market loves
    • Apollo tyres give up much before the mechanical grip gives up around a corner. An upgrade to better rubber is necessity.
    • Little or no sporty exhaust note
    PS: Thanks to Fiat and Aadya motors for providing the vehicle and co-ordinating for the review
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
    Iyu, shakesin, anoop and 31 others like this.
  2. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Punto Abarth has been launched with a sticker price of Rs. 9.95 Lakhs exshowroom - Delhi and will be available in Pearl White and Black initially. The Matt grey is expected to be introduced in Q1 next year.

    Avventura powered by Abarth too carries a sticker price of Rs. 9.95 Lakhs exshowrrom - Delhi

    Technical Specifications

    Tech Specs.JPG

    Kerb weight for the Punto Abarth has not been mentioned in the brochure.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  3. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    How different is it compared to the regular Evo


    Fiat has made a few changes to the Punto Abarth to differentiate it from the regular Punto Evo. The Abarth logos replace the Fiat logos on this one and get the red themed stickers on the car.




    The chrome surrounds around the fog lamps (both front and rear) are now wrapped in red, which to me gives it garish feel.



    The red stripes start from the bonnet, which has been carried over to the roof with a big scorpion decal and end at the spoiler.


    Scorpion Roof.JPG

    The scorpion claw alloys look brilliant on the car and skirting on the sides enhances the looks even further. Notice the discs at rear




    Notice the bigger intercooler



    Like the exteriors, the interior too gets a few changes like the upholstery change with red and yellow stitching, a different speedometer to differentiate it from the Evo. The all black theme from the 90 HP version is carried forward which goes along with the sporty nature of the car.


    The speedo console is different to the Evo and has the lettering in yellow and red. The redline starts from 5500 rpm and the ABARTH lettering is now prominently put right above the MID.


    Speedo 2.JPG

    The driver seat felt a little harder and provided slightly better support as compared to the regular Evo, which is welcome but still lacks the under thigh support. The fabric design has a nice feel to it, but will surely be a dust magnet. The ergonomics are not perfect and it does take time to getting used to, the short test drives certainly does not help in finding one either.


    Abarth Door Sills as standard


    Interior though has come a long way forward in terms of the feel, fit and finish, there are still a few rough bits like the lower part of the dashboard which feels roughly put together. However, these are not a deal breakers keeping in mind the performance that is on offer.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  4. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Heart of the Matter

    Engine Bay.JPG

    Fiat always had a very strong motor in the 1.4 turbocharged unit which appears in various tunes in the various markets ranging from 113 PS all the way to 180 PS version. The Abarth tunes the higher-powered versions, which is exactly what Fiat has done in India too. 1.4 Tjet has been heavily worked upon by having a revised intake, exhaust, bigger turbo, bigger intercooler, injectors and of course a revised ECU map to provide the 145 PS @5500 rpm and the torque at 212 NM at 2000 – 4000 rpm. The C510 gearbox being the limitation, the torque numbers has gone up only 5 nm from the regular Tjet. The motor has gone upscale with a beefed up internals, which would help further modifications to increase the power. The specifications look very good on paper, but how is it to drive?

    The Drive

    Turn the key on and the engine settles to a nice idle, that is when you would be surprised to find that the exhaust note is muted. Rev it, the Engine gives a nice throaty note, but the exhaust remains muted which is quite disappointing. Slot it into the first and the release the clutch which is familiar. There is a hint of turbo lag until the 1800 rpm and post which it boost increases to provide the brisk acceleration. It is quite easy to spin the wheels on the first gear. If you bury the accelerator pedal, you will experience the torque steer coupled with the furious wheels spins. A quick shift to the 2nd gear gives a hint of wheel spin and it accelerates hard and the acceleration remains strong in the 3rd and the 4th gear too. The motor is quite versatile coupled the ratios ensures that you get strong acceleration all the way up to 6000 rpm and then tapers off before hitting the rev limiter at 6500 rpm. Though there is strong acceleration from around 2000 rpm to 6000 rpm, there is hint of a flat spot around the 3500 rpm. The Punto Abarth does 50 kmph in 1st gear, 90 kmph in 2nd gear and close 140 kmph in 3rd gear before hitting the rev limiter (Note speeds are speedo indicated here). However, shifting at around 5000 rpm puts you in the meaty power band and it ensure strong acceleration even in the 5th gear. Post the 120 kmph, the speed climbs up quite quickly with the right shifts and hitting the 170 kmph is quite easy. Managed to clock close to 200 kmph on the speedo with the road running out and had to brake for the upcoming intersection.

    Though the 0-100 kmph is mostly insignificant in day to day driving, we did try to see how close the numbers can be to the claimed 8.8 secs. While Crazy_Driver managed 9.9 secs to the ton mark (2nd gear launch), I was able to manage 9.38 secs later after dropping the tyre pressure to 30 PSI from the 42 PSI which the car had. With minimal tyre spins, the 8.8 secs seems very much achievable. Though this number is not ground breaking, it is good enough considering how heavy the Punto Evo weighs (with the Tjet, the weight of the Punto Abarth ought to have gone up by a few Kilograms from 1198 Kgs)

    PS: The 0-100 runs were done based on the GPS.

    Fiat has carried forward the C510 gearbox to keep the costs low which still remains a drawback, but it would not have done them any harm in providing a slick short shifting gearbox. Maybe they can do this if they launch an SS version with 180 PS and a six speeder with a higher sticker price.

    Ride and Handling

    Handling has further been enhanced by lowering the ground clearance by 30 mm and the stiffer suspension set up ensure the ride is flat and is confidence inspiring. Be it lane changes or taking a corner aggressively the car does not feel unsettled. However, the tyres start to squeal and begs for mercy. Upgrading to a sticky rubber will enhance the excellent handling even further. Even with the stiff suspension set up, the ride is quite flat and not too harsh. At low speeds the ride feels a little stiffer, but this is a compromise to have the ride brilliant at higher speeds. People familiar with the Expressway (if one can call it that way) to Bangalore International Airport, there are a couple of places with nasty undulation which can unsettle the ride. Punto Abarth handled this comfortably and stayed predictable. Even with the lower ground clearance, the stiff suspension ensured the underbelly did not scrape anywhere. The steering feedback from the hydraulic unit is precise, sharp, keeps you connected to the road by providing ample feedback and the steering feels nice to use.

    The brakes were always a strong point of the Punto Evo, but the all wheel discs on the Punto Abarth (285mm front and 252 mm rear) takes it to a higher level. The strong brakes provides sufficient bite and slows the car down rapidly from speeds over 150 kmph.

    FE on the Abarth will be considered by a few people; thanks to our market’s obsession on mileage in general. With an ARAI certified Mileage of 16.3 kmpl, the real life mileage in city like Bangalore should hover around 9-10 kmpl and around 15 kmpl on the highway when driven normally. The aggressive mode will get these numbers down but in return makes you grin ear to ear.

    Small video for the Engine Note

    Note: This run was done after multiple checks and ensuring it is safe to do the run. Kindly avoid unwarranted comments on this please.

    Avventura powered by Abarth Initial Impressions.

    The Avventura finally gets the Tjet under the hood, which it ought to have it right at the time of the launch. Better late than never. The Tjet is tuned slightly differently and the power is at 140 BHP and torque at 210 nm. Though the numbers are very close to the Punto Abarth, the tuning is different. The low-end torque is slightly better and the top end is not strong as the Punto Abarth. The suspension is not changed or tuned to handle the bump in power, which is disappointing especially after you drive the Punto Abarth first and then Avventura. However, in isolation, the Avventura is quite fast with the 140 BHP motor. One interesting thing is that the exhaust note is more prominent in the Avventura than the Punto Abarth. Overall looking at it isolation, it is still a good proposition, but bring the Punto Abarth in with its retuned suspension, the Punto Abarth is leagues ahead of the Avventura for all obvious reasons.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
  5. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Knowing the unknown - Abarth History

    Abarth is an Italian racing carmaker founded by Austrian-Italian Carlo Abarth and Italian Armando Scagliarini in Turin in 1949. Its logo depicts a stylized scorpion on a red and yellow background – this was Carlo’s birth sign! Now recognized as one of the automotive ‘greats’, Abarth was an innovator and skilled engineer; masterminding the development of the world famous FIAT 500 Abarth racing cars… the giant killers, which scored hundreds of race victories in the early years of the company and prior to being part of Fiat. Abarth developed ‘streamliner’ record Carlo Abarth motorcycle racer breaking cars too, again setting many records, alongside creating some of the most beautiful cars ever made.

    Little known facts about Abarth include him as a very successful motorcycle racer racing, and winning, at Grand Prix and International level. He was also a good driver – setting speed and endurance records into his late 50s. Abarth designed, built and developed his own ‘Scorpion’ badged racing and road cars but also developing the world beating Fiat and Lancia Rally cars that won many rallies - Fiat’s Abarth 124 won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1974 and the Fiat 131 Abarth was a very successful rally car; winning the World Rally Championship three times: in 1977, 1978, and in 1980 with Markku Alen, Timo Salonen and Walter Röhrl at the wheel. The official “works” cars were sponsored by OLIO and Italian airline Alitalia and bore their distinctive red, white and green livery – later the Lancia Delta S4 carried the evocative livery of Martini – the Abarth Competition Racing Department engineering and preparing some of the most successful racing cars of their era with innovations such as the turbo supercharger combination.

    Carlo Abarth began his well-known association with Fiat in 1952, building the Abarth 1500 Biposto on Fiat mechanicals. In the 1960s, Abarth & C. S.r.l was hugely successful in hill climbing and sports car racing, mainly in classes from 850cc up to 2000cc, competing with Porsche 904 and Ferrari Dino. Hans Herrmann was a factory driver from 1962 until 1965, winning the 500km Nürburgring 1963 Fiat 2300s Abarth record monzain 1963 with Teddy Pilette. Later, Johann Abt was promised by Carlo Abarth that he could drive a factory car for free if he won all the races he entered — which Abt nearly did, winning 29 of 30, the 30th being a second!

    Along with its racing cars, Abarth produced high-performance exhaust pipes. Later, Abarth diversified in producing various tuning kits for road vehicles, mainly for Fiat. While there were many competitors, Abarth largely dominated the Italian tuning market in the sixties. Abarth was also associated in producing sports or racing cars with Fiat, Porsche and Simca.

    Abarth was sold to Fiat on July 31, 1971 with the racing team being sold to Enzo Osella. Abarth then became the racing department of Fiat, managed by famed engine designer Aurelio Lampredi. Some models built by Fiat, Lancia and Autobianchi were co-branded Abarth, the most famous being the Fiat Abarth 500. Abarth also prepared abarth racing cars Fiat Group’s rally cars – Fiat 124 Abarth and 131 Abarth.

    In the 80s the Abarth name was used to mark performance Fiats such as the Fiat Ritmo Abarth 130 TC and FIAT Stilo Abarth. In 2007 Fiat Group Automobiles Spa relaunched the brand with the Abarth Punto and the Abarth Punto S2000. The brand is a separate division to the main Fiat brand. It is based in the Officine 83, part of the old Mirafiori engineering plant in Turin

    Source and Credits: http://abarthcarsuk.com/about-abarth/
    Rama, vish_al, gautham and 18 others like this.
  6. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Overall Impression

    The Punto Abarth has many things going for it, right from the strong motor under the hood, brilliant ride and handling, very strong brakes, the looks going for it. But it certainly is not without its share of negatives such as the iffy bits on the fit and finish, rubbery shifts (though improves with usage) and the driving position which is not easy to find at the first instant. But at a sticker price of 9.95 lakhs and the performance on offer, the Evo makes a compelling case for itself.

    Other Points

    Blue Tooth Streaming now available, which is a welcome move. USB slot and the Aux port different from the regular Evo though placed at the same location


    Media Player.JPG

    Abarth Pedals are not standard, but available as an option. It should have been part of the standard

    Foot Well.jpg

    Exhaust pipe sticking out sorely


    Apollo tyres which comes as stock is good at catching attention of people around with the wheel spins. Grip on offer is nothing to write home about with a powerful motor under the hood

    PS: KHT and Aadya will sell Punto Abarth for Karnataka. Not all dealers get to sell the Punto Abarth. Look out for the dealers who sell the Punto Abarth when you want to get one home.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  7. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    A few parting shots








    Special Effects 2.JPG

    Special Effects 3.JPG

    Special Effects 4.JPG

    Special Effects.JPG
  8. nkrishnap

    nkrishnap Staff Member Janitor

    Linea 1.3
    Primary Competition


    VW GT TSI.jpg

    • European build quality
    • TSI engine with the DSG auto box makes it good fast daily hatchback
    • Neutral handling with more emphasis on the comfort
    • Premium Brand image
    • Numerous options for modifications for both features and performance
    • Inconsistent service quality
    • Relatively higher service bills
    • Reliability issues with the 7 speed DSG
    • Delivery issues of Polo recently
    Image source and Credit: Motoroids.com
  9. CrAzY dRiVeR

    CrAzY dRiVeR Timido

    Big thanks to nkrishnap for taking me along for this review test drive. I'm a Punto 90hp user since 3 1/2 years and have covered almost 1.1L kms on the vehicle, and some of my observations may not reflect yours since I'm very much accustomed to the vehicle over this long stint with it. However, I’ll give an honest effort to approach it from a neutral POV.


    What you'll like –

    145hp hatchback!
    All wheel disc brakes. Excellent braking capabilities.
    Excellent ride and handling, with ride still being well damped.
    Hydraulic steering, FIAT build quality, the solid feel and looks – the European package compliments the car perfectly.
    Price of 9.95L pan India. A hot hatch for less than C-segment sedan money.

    What you'll not -

    Would have appreciated a higher level of safety – 6 airbags, ESP, Cruise Control etc.
    The Abarth theme might be too loud for many. Personally, I hate the red fog lamp bezels.
    The driving position takes some getting used to. Seating H point is set low, rendering less under thigh support and a raised knee. I love the brilliant lower back support though.
    Gear box is improved over the Evo, but still feels rubbery.
    195 section 16 inch Apollo tyres beg for an immediate upgrade.

    We (Again thanks to nkrishnap) had already reviewed the 2014 Punto Evo (http://www.teamfiat.com/threads/punto-evo-2014-test-drive-and-review.12629/) and hence the below note misses out on some obvious points which are the same as the Evo.



    You may love it, or hate it – but you just can’t miss it. Punto Abarth is quite loud for a hatchback in the Indian scene, and FIAT is second only to Maruti here in providing a generous dose of stickerwork on their cars. Thankfully, unlike the Swift Glory, Windsong editions etc – it is not a case of all show and no go. Still, the stickerwork might be too loud for many people. I would probably leave the stickerwork on the car and get the fog lamp bezels covered in black.


    The alloys wheels are absolute drool material! Agreed that the one showcased at the BIC was much better, but this still is one of the best designs provided by an OEM in India ever! Punto has always been a good looking car and the charm is carried forward to the Abarth as well.


    But as I mentioned above – there are few things to hate about the exterior design. The fog lamp bezels are too loud and doesn’t feel good in quality. Not that I’m a fan of chrome, but the ones of the Evo felt excellent quality in comparison. The sticker quality of the Abarth is again not the best I’ve seen! Karthik’s modified Punto 90hp has better quality stickers IMO. This one might not last the distance, but fortunately – that also means that it won’t be a pain to remove for those who wish so!



    It’s the same old Punto Evo in here, save for some minute differences. The Abarth branding is an obvious change, bringing along with it some red and yellow stitching – but what you would probably not notice is the material used for the seat which offers superb grip and prevents any sort of sliding around upon hard braking. I’ve always liked the full black theme (Including the roof liner!) of the 90 hp Evo – so no major complaints here.


    The quality of materials used is not the best, especially on the lower part of the dashboard and the doors. The quality of leather used on the steering wheel seems to have deteriorated over the years . My good old 90hp still feels better than the brand new leather on the new Abarth. That said – the car is still build like a FIAT should be and parts feel properly screwed together.

    Coming to the ergonomics perspective – it’s the same old hit or miss. Personally – I feel its only a matter of time to get used to it! The H point on the seat is set low, causing a raised knee position with no under thigh support. Adding the long travel clutch into the picture – this is awkward for someone checking the car at the showroom. However, over time you get to really appreciate the firm seats with the brilliant lower back support that keeps you comfortable over long journeys. FIAT had a scope of improvement there, probably could have imported a new gearbox as well - and that would have made it perfect. But then - its probably too much an investment and would only push up the prices way north considering the small numbers they manage to sell. But that said – I perfectly understand if the seating position and gearbox is not your cup of tea, or coffee!


    No comments on the interior package and the boot since they are the same as the Evo. However, a note on the features list - I would have personally liked Cruise control to be a part of the package - along with may be a higher variant with more safety features on offer. One major grouse I had with the Punto earlier was its music system, which seems to have improved now and bluetooth music streaming finally makes its appearance in the Evo. Bye bye cables!


    If you have survived reading till this point, here comes the good stuff!


    Ok, let me just burst the bubble – a novice driver like me was able to extract a 9.9 second (GPS) run to the ton starting off in second gear! And it’s the first time ever that I tried a hard launch. I could barely manage to control the launch in first gear with the wheels spinning away to glory (my inexperience shining through! And the fact that the test car was riding 42 PSI as we realised later) – but the car is fast and how! Try a hard launch in the initial gears – and the steering is actually for holding on. They weren’t kidding about the torque steer!

    FIAT claims a figure of 8.8 seconds to the ton, which gives the car good bragging rights at the local club against that GT TSI owner – but frankly - the story lies elsewhere.

    The unsung hero here is the torque. At 212Nm, it is good enough to rival a diesel engine. The car pulls neatly from low rpms and speeds are achieved effortlessly. There is a hint of turbo lag but the torque masks it quite well. Over the long term – you’ll definitely appreciate the effortless way in which the Abarth picks up speed. Triple digit speeds are achieved without breaking a sweat and overtaking other cars just requires a gentle tap on the accelerator! You can be a calm and sedate driver, but still maintain blazing high speeds in the car. “VTec kicked in yo” jokes associated with high performance small engines are a thing of the past!

    And speaking of overtaking – the Punto Abarth seems extremely keen to hit the redline. The disappointments? Engine note is nice, but exhaust note is nilch. I mean zip, nada, zilch – a bit of a disappointment there! Overall, the car feels a lot more refined than the Linea TJet IMO. The gearshifts however are still rubbery and hence it is quite a good thing that you have all the power and torque in the world to reduce those shifts to a minimum. Though - if you ask me, I'd say the gearshifts are not as bad as it is often made out to be - and the shifts are smooth for regular usage. Its either me getting used to the car or the gearbox improving over usage, but i defenilty enjoy the gearshifts in my car over regular usage. It is only when once is trying to shift hard that the weaknesses of this box become evident. And quite evident at that! FIAT could probably have imported a new gearbox for this car, but it would not have made any financial sense considering the low numbers on offer.

    Fuel Efficiency:

    Blasphemy, you’d say. But I felt I should still report it.

    The worst we saw was 10.1 kmpl on the MID after few hard runs trying to beat the acceleration time set by each other. And this went up to 11.5 kmpl within another 15 kms of driving around for the photoshoot location. FIAT claims an ARAI figure of 16.3 kmpl. I feel these figures are very good for the kind of performance on offer! Possibly the abundance of torque helping matters here!

    Ride, handling and braking:

    Let me start with the braking department since it impressed me the most over a regular Punto 90hp. On the village highway running through the outskirts of Bangalore – I had to brake hard to avoid a huge pothole on an otherwise good road, and the car shed speeds much faster than I expected – even compared to the decent braking skills of the Evo. FIAT has added rear disc brakes to the package and it has obviously helped matters here. Good job FIAT!


    The ride height has been lowered and stands at 155mm, but thankfully its good enough to clear the Bangalore speed breakers. Mind you – we were only two people in the car. I am still apprehensive if this car will pass the Bangalore speed breaker test with a full load of passengers and luggage. Anyways, with many people crying out loud for a lowered stance – 155mm seems like the perfect compromise. Moreover, it has helped in the handling department.

    Firm suspension, lowered ride height and the addition of front and rear anti-roll bars ensure that the car has very less body roll compared to the Punto which was considered extremely good for its segment. Many reports suggested that the ride quality is firm, but I couldn’t find a major difference compared to my Punto (even with the test car running 42 PSI)– though nkrisnap insisted it feels firm compared to his Linea. Overall, this package beats the competition by miles in my opinion.

    Overall Impressions:


    It isn’t a perfect car, or a luxury car or a Maruti / Hyundai/ VW car though. At 9.95L – if you are expecting premium interiors, the luxury of an automatic transmission, sunroof, or even the comfort of having an OEM touch screen HU with navigation and parking assist – look elsewhere. You are looking at the wrong product. If you are already tired of maintaining an old Premier Padmini or an old Palio, or even if you are tired without even owning a FIAT product and was expecting FIAT to turn into Maruti Suzuki overnight – look elsewhere. FIAT service still remains a hit or a miss, depending on which city you are in. I can totally relate to all these situations with my dad (with his aching knee) wanting an automatic transmission, mom wanting a sedan with good service support, and wife wanting premium interiors and features for the price. Probably an Audi logo too, but that’s just her! :D

    But, as a happy owner of a Punto 90hp which has aged gracefully till date – I’m super excited with this product. The car is a perfect driver’s package unlike any India has seen so far in the small car space IMHO. More power than ever before in an Indian hatchback, an excellent hydraulic steering that is easily the segment best, effortless braking guaranteed by the all wheel disc brakes, excellent ride and handling capabilities and the solid build – makes this one of the most enjoyable cars you could buy right now. Yes, FIAT could have improved it further by providing a new gearbox, but probably that is too much to ask from a small volume manufacturer. Some of you might be questioning the sanity of spending 10L ex-showroom on a FIAT hatchback, but the way I see it – this is the best deal FIAT or any other manufacturer has ever offered on a performance product in India so far, and makes way more sense than my own purchase of a Punto 90hp three years ago.

    FIAT has dared to go way beyond what any manufacturer with a better hold of the market could! For the sake of the market and us enthusiasts – I hope it succeeds and forces other manufacturers to follow suit as well. To draw an analogy with the Indian two wheeler industry - I feel this is the R15 moment where a struggling Yamaha with its rich heritage tried to move away from its mass market 'me too' range. What happened next was history and the industry stands transformed now - with many international players fighting for their share of the performance motorbike segment. I hope the car industry doesn't miss this bus, like it did earlier when FIAT launched the Palio 1.6 GTX.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
    anoop, revvingengines, ramjn and 30 others like this.
  10. zenwalker

    zenwalker Esperto

    Superb and well articulated guys. Lucky ducks toget to get first hand on the monstrous beauty ;)
    So drooling over the alloys, but a lil taken a back on the exhaust note. A lil louder of the same would be so charming and adrnalin rush :pp the video is nice.

    Any possible to increase it though??

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