First Drive: Fiat Abarth Punto T-Jet Review


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Traditional Punto quirks remain, but this was what the doctor ordered.

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A big powerful engine and a lowered chassis. She goes like a bat out of hell with its tail on fire after 1600 rpm, and corners like a balle dancer. Would have appreciated more equipment for the asking price, though. Loved piloting this. Just beware of the torque steer, though not alarming. The whole thing feels so refreshing.

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How is she to drive?

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In one word, a brute.

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Consider this, you have a 11-12 lakh rupee OTR car, with more power than many sedans in the similar price bracket out there, and with a lowered spring setup by 30mm, stiffer rear dampers, with an addition of a rear anti roll bar to control all that power, and all wheel discs, and all that hardware of a bigger IHI turbo with 145 bhp.

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The traditional quirks remain, but once you turn on the ignition and listen to the gentle purr, you realise that she is no different animal. The muted exhaust note remains, but press the clutch with light yet long travel, engage the notchy shifting gear 1 and she leaps forward with an eagerness not present in any Punto since 2009. The gears 1 and 2 are tall, and there is a hint of lag till 1600 rpm, and after that, all hell brakes loose. Whats impressive is not the outright power, but the way she delivers it, in vast and abundant reserves of it. The ratios are reworked, and this gives the car the new found eagerness and moreover the engine is more mature, flexible and having an advantage of 200 extra CC, less stressed too. The whole car feels "lighter". The mid range is as strong as it gets, and its always easy to keep note that a mere dab on the throttle is all that's required to plan those overtaking manouvres.

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Handling is thankfully much sorted out and all that hardware down below prevents body roll which plagued my car at corners. She corners like a ballet dancer, and does have some amount of torque steer, if you wish.
The gearshift quality still needs improvement, but is tolerable since I am used to it. And Fiat still needs to learn that at this price, the lower portion of interior should not scream "rental car". A l'il bit of equipment would have been appreciable but since the engineering outweighs all the quirks, this can be forgiven, even if the steering and driving position is akin to a gorilla.
Good job Fiat, and this was what the doctor ordered. Please consider the launch of 113 bhp T jet in lower, affordable versions and availability of red and matt grey shades. The anemic 1.2 FIRE and 1.4 starjet versions ought to go now.
 
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Re: First drive: Fiat Abarth Punto T jet

The car is perfect! However, I can't help but imagine how good the old Punto would have looked if it were launched in the Abarth trim. Price does seem a tad bit high as the GT TSI is a bit cheaper, but you can't go wrong with a 3 pedal layout and 100+bhp under the hood in a hatch. How is the suspension on bad roads?
 

Akash1886

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Traditional Punto quirks remain, but this was what the doctor ordered.
Ok, so you drove the Abarth! Great work and really appreciate the efforts Sidharth. Now, I have a query, as you own a Punto yourself, and have extensive driving experience of it so I would like you to compare both the Punto's. It would help the buyers to know a lot of things about the new car. I do understand, the Abarth is definitely a pocket rocket but would like to hear the details of it from you and secondly if you have pics of Red and Black Abarth then share them too.

Regards

Akash
 
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Ok, so you drove the Abarth! Great work and really appreciate the efforts Sidharth. Now, I have a query, as you own a Punto yourself, and have extensive driving experience of it so I would like you to compare both the Punto's. It would help the buyers to know a lot of things about the new car. I do understand, the Abarth is definitely a pocket rocket but would like to hear the details of it from you and secondly if you have pics of Red and Black Abarth then share them too.

Regards

Akash
I dont know how a diesel Punto and a Tjet Punto comparison will hold any value [confused] But good review Sid.
 

Akash1886

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I dont know how a diesel Punto and a Tjet Punto comparison will hold any value
Archit babu, I do know Abarth and Diesel Punto are different by leaps and bounds. My point is, I wanted to understand how different is Abarth Punto in terms of Interiors, Ride, handling, overall appeal as a product, Has Fiat addressed the quality niggles in this one and the Evo Punto. There is definitely no match between old Punto and Abarth Punto in terms of engine performance.

Regards

Akash
 
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This car i is an extremely niche product, and should be marketed so. Those who start comparing this car with I20, Polo, Baleno or Swift shouldnt really come anywhere near the Fiat showroom. Its not meant for any comparison at all , since it is a one-of-a-kind product that can only appeal to the heart.
 
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Dear esseesse , thanks, nice report. I have a question - can you please compare it's cornering ability with old petrol Swift, the best among all the cars I have driven or with a Fiesta 1.6S ( although never have driven ).

And this is an anonymous question & request to all the Angels of TAI ( those who reports the real performance tests of new launches by devoting their precious times ) - can it cruise around 160/170 comfortably enough i.e what would be the rpm & engine noise and is there still any juice left to accelerate or overtake?

Thanks in advance,
Roy
 
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Akash1886

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Friends, here are the Pics for TAI of newly launched Punto Evo Abarth. I saw this today at Fiat's Noida Dealer. Sadly the TD car is yet not available there. A walk-around video will be posted as well.

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All Pics are only for The Automotive India. Any re-use needs full credit to TAI.

Regards

Akash
 
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The most important thing what I want to know that this sporty car do have ESP+Traction control system. If not then, it is not worth to buy a just for the engine and sporty decals/alloys.
 
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