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Fiat Abarth: Fiat revives Abarth brand

178bhp Punto first to wear scorpion badge

Hoping to follow in the successful footsteps of Renaultsport, Honda’s Type-R and Vauxhall’s VXR range, Fiat has revived its specialist tuning division, Abarth. The announcement was made at the Geneva show, where the reborn performance wing’s first offerings – the Grande Punto Abarth ‘Preview’ and its race-dedicated brother, the Grande Punto Abarth S2000 – could be seen for the first time.

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Despite the ‘Preview’ tag on the show car, the production version of the road-going Punto Abarth is expected to differ little from the car on display at Geneva. That means power will come from a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing 153bhp and 152lb ft of torque. The latter figure can be raised to 170lb ft by simply selecting the Abarth’s ‘Sport’ mode, while customers who think that 153bhp is a little too modest will be able to specify an optional ‘booster kit’, taking power up to 178bhp.

As befits a tuned model, the hot Punto will come with a six-speed gearbox, four-pot Brembo brake callipers up front, wider wings, a bodykit and 17in alloys.

The rally-spec S2000 version, meanwhile, is a much wilder animal. A development of the car with the same name that won the 2006 Italian Rally Championship, it has a 266bhp 2-litre engine driving all four wheels. Sadly there’s no chance of it becoming a 21st century Delta Integrale as it won’t be homologated for road use.

The road-going Grande Punto Abarth goes on sale in September, with a price expected to be around the £15,000 mark, but Abarth’s plans don’t stop with the Punto – the retro-styled Fiat 500 will also be ‘Abarthed’ soon after its summer launch, with Fiat hoping to emulate the success of the Mini Cooper.

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