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Grande Punto esseesse
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  Fiat Abarth Grande Punto esseesse
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Introduced in:2008
Source:Company press release
Last updated:August 04, 2008
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Click here to download printer friendly versionA glorious past, a victorious brand name and a rich heritage in motorsport all combine as Fiat Group Automobiles re-launches the Abarth brand.

Synonymous with tough, spirited cars, enthusiastic challenges and a passion for thrills, Abarth is back as a stand-alone brand with a new range of models that will not only appeal to Britain's legions of sports car enthusiasts, but will demonstrate once again that Fiat Group Automobiles can successfully oversee and underwrite the production of safe, exciting, high performance cars at affordable prices.

First to get the Abarth treatment is the successful Grande Punto, the popular supermini that is still one of the largest cars in the highly competitive B segment. 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.

The Assetto and 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.

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  Article Image gallery (11) Specifications