Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Scorpion's Back - with a Sting in Its Tail; Motoring World

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Scorpion's Back - with a Sting in Its Tail; Motoring World

Article excerpt

Byline: By MIKE TORPEY

IT'S one of the most iconic symbols in automotive history - and it's back with a venomous sting in the tail.

The sign of the scorpion, synonymous with performance and style, has been relaunched by Fiat in the shape of the Grande Punto Abarth.

The marque, founded in 1949 by Austrian Carlo Abarth, took the motorsport world by storm in the 1960s with a roll of honour that boasted 10 world records, 133 international records and more than 10,000 track victories.

Now owned by the Turin car giant, the Abarth philosophy of 'small but wicked' has been rekindled in a package that looks sure to bring back the glory days.

And the pounds 13,500 Grande Punto Abarth is just the starting point, as a Fiat 500 version is due for UK launch early next year.

For now though it's the Punto, which features just one engine option, a 1.4-litre T-Jet turbo petrol unit delivering a spirited 155bhp.

Combined with a six-speed manual transmission, this powerplant makes for acceleration of 0-62 in 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 129mph - equal to a conventionally aspirated 2.0-litre unit but with appreciably better fuel consumption (average 40.9mpg) and lower emissions.

Compared with the standard Grande Punto, the Abarth's track has been widened by 6 mm, it comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, a redesigned front bumper with larger air intakes and there are also side skirts, black plastic underbody and trademark badge in the centre of the front grille, rear hatch, and on both flanks.

And inside the sign of the scorpion is never far away either while the big Recaro seats, red cross-stitching and carbon effect centre console add a racy feel to the car.

Fiat certainly means business with this re-launch and it is most definitely not a case of style over substance. …

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