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Thread: Fiat Coupe, My Review

  1. #1
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    Fiat Coupe, My Review

    Well, few weeks ago early93viper wrote an excellent review on his 1993 Dodge Viper. Although my little car is nowhere near as cool or special as Viper, I'd like to share my thoughts about my Fiat Coupe.

    Vital specs:
    - make & model: 1997 Fiat Coupe
    - layout: Front-engined, front wheel drive
    - engine: Inline-5, 20V, dohc, 1998 cc, NA
    - power: 108 kW @ 6100 rpm
    - torque: 190 Nm @ 4500 rpm
    - gearbox: 5M
    - weight: 1345 kg (dry)

    A brief history

    March 1990. Leonardo Fioravanti was head of Fiat Centro Stile. Pininfarina receives a call for some designwork, starting from an idea by Chris Bangle who was, at the time, working with the Fiat.

    January 1991. First proposals using the Fiat Tipo floorpan as a base saw the management choose for the Pininfarina designs. These were a bit more common (read: elegant), as opposed to Bangle's more daunting drawings.

    Luckily the Fiat designers didn't stop their work and went on. As new management directors found their way to Fiat, these favored the results of the in-house design center. It was Paolo Cantarella who wanted to break away from the classical design and offer a new, innovative product. As for the interior, it was Pininfarina's proposal who received approval by everybody.It was May 1991 and final development was started.

    It is not just the interior that make the Coupe have the Pininfarina text on the sides and on the dashboard. It was constructed (by hand) at the Pininfarina factory alongside the Peugeot 406 Coupe, 306 Cabrios and the odd Ferrari here and there.

    Fiat Coupe was Introduced in late 1993, at the Brussels car show. Initially it was available with a venerable 2.0 16V Lancia engines, a base model was normally aspirated and top-of-the-line model had a turbocharger. Using platform of the ageing Fiat Tipo platform, Fiat engineers worked miracles to create such a fine-handling car as this. Turbocharged models were equipped with LSD to handle the extra power.

    1995 brought new engines and a facelifted interior. The range started with a 1.8 16v and ending up with a pair of brand-new five-cylinder 2.0 units. Again, one was NA and other turbocharged.

    Late 1990s saw various special editions but the basic line-up remained unchanged until production was to stop at the end of June 2000.

    Official Fiat figures put the total production at around 53,000. Pininfarina have stated that the 50,000th model rolled off the production line in July 1997, and in March 2000 they stated that over 70,000 had been produced.Conflicting Italian car production figures are nothing new, however!

    Living with the Fiat...

    ....is suprisngly pleasant I must say. My car is the "sensible one" with a NA engine. It has all the extras with the exception of sunroof (unnecessary really) and heated seats (a must in my climate zone).

    The fun starts even before the engine is fired up. I still grin every time I sit behind the wheel and lay my eyes on the the Pininfarina signature on the dashboard. Why? I don't have a slightest idea . Then you turn the key and hear ever so distant rumbling. At idle the engine has a very modest sound, like your average four-banger. But rev it above 3000 rpm and the hell brakes loose. Fiat's 20V makes a very distinctive snarl which sounds overtly racy, something resembleing Porsche's flat-6.

    However, do not let the auditory sensations fool you: Fiat Coupe is not a sports car. It looks like one, feels like one but it isn't one. First of all, the acceleration (I am talking about NA version of course). When accelerating from stand still, it is mediocre at best. Nevertheless, when reaching to 40 kph and third gear, it starts to pick up the pace. By the time you reach 90 kph and engage 4th, engine is screaming and you FEEL like doing warp speed as the scenery dashes past. Time to calm down, throw in 5th gear and check the speedometer: 110 kph, nothing even remotely dangerous. Brilliant! When doing highway driving and there is a speed restriction, lets say 50 kph, this is my favourite activity: crawl along in 5th with 1500 rpm. When speed limit ends, change down to 3rd (double declutching of course) and accelerate like a mad man. Mind you, it FEELS like it, in reality, it is nothing spectacular. 0-100 kph is reached in 9 sec, top speed is 200 kph, according to factory figures.

    More things why Fiat Coupe doesn't classify as a sport car. Brakes. They lack the positive bite and hard feel. They do not provide confidence to me. Brakes are just adequate, nothing more. Gearbox. Although gearchange is precise and solid, it is has bit too long throw (then again, it adds to the retro feel ). Then there is a weight issue. And last but not least, the engine is hanging over the front axle.

    Enough bashing.

    Despite all of these shortcomings, it is surprisingly nimble car. You can feel plenty of feedback through the steering, which is also nicely weighted for enthusiastic driving. Then there is a chunky three-spoke steering wheel, the best I've ever encountered. Steering rack in my car is 2.9 turns from lock to lock, could be better. Ride is firm but not particularly harsh, thanks to massive weight of the car. Interior space is very generous (big suprise!). More of a four-seater than a 2+2, the Coupe does a decent job as transport for a small family. Me myself being 1.78m tall, have travelled long distance in the rear seat. Boot space is generous (suprise again!), although the large hinges can get in the way if you try to cram in too much. Though there's an internal boot release, there's no external push button opener. Shame really, but lets be honest - it would ruin the pretty bottom.

    Rear three-quarters visibility is poor, no use of checking over your shoulder when changing lanes. Rear view mirrors are quite small, but you'll get to used to that.

    Although there is adequate seat adjustment and the steering wheel is both height and reach-adjustable, the traditional Italianate driving position (long arms-short legs) is still there. Also the pedals have bit too much offset and are too close to each other. When there is a summertime, I actually prefer driving with bare foot.

    Fuel consumption is decent, 8L/100 km on highway, 10L/100 km in city cycle driving. Figure goes up to 11-12L/100 km when there is a -20°C. In fact, biggest suprise of all is that my car works perfectly well in harsh winter conditions. At -20°C gearbox oil and other fluids got thicker, but otherwise car was fine. It was I who was complaining: I froze my buttocks off on the cold leather seats. When temperatures dropped below -25°C, I didn't bother to start up the car.

    Fiat has had its act together on build quality for many-many years now, and it shows. I've had my bella macchina for 8 months now and there has been only one major failure: the clutch. But do not think I've been a complete stranger to a local Fiat garage. The previous owner wasn't most caring one. The car had a cracked exhaust manifold, one engine mouting had to be replaced, also front wishbones, thermostat...there was more, but I can not remeber at the moment. Then there were all sort of bits and bolts like filters, spark plugs, fluids etc. And I had a cambelt changed for the piece of mind (engine out job!).Overall the maintenance has cost me about half of purchase price. Do I regret it? No way, it has been worth every single penny.

    Bottom line is that Fiat Coupe is far from perfect but it has the most important ingredient: PASSION. If you have this completley irrational affection towards Italian automobiles (they rust apart, they fall apart etc ), Fiat Coupe is an excellent choice for motoring.

    Pros:
    -looks (there is nothing quite like it).
    -practicality
    -fun factor

    Cons:
    -looks (lacks elegance).
    -brakes
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    My father probally had the biggest collection of Fiat's in the country ( considering that no one else bought them over here for their build quality woes )
    he loved them for their quick pace and rally heritage but ultimately.....they were crap. My mom told me stories of them being stuck on mountain roads from things happening with the car ( he loved the scenic route ). But, there is a passion behind Fiat and it's great to see people enjoying them like they should be. I don't know if I'll ever buy a Fiat ( unless it's a 124 spider to build up like the abarth special ) but at least I can have respect for this estonians coupe. Very interesting little car, very interesting lines. I like the front, but it doesn't match the rear to me, very abrupt. I bet it handles nicely though.
    Taking in donations for a Lancia Delta Integrale, please be considerate of a fellow forum member....:)

  3. #3
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    I really like the styling of your car, wish we had them here.
    You can call me scott.

  4. #4
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    Nice looking car! I like that dark green color.
    "Racing improves the breed" ~Sochiro Honda

  5. #5
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    I just love reviews like these They are very sincere and give a good indicatin of wat a car really is,and not just the numbers.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the review, it was an interesting read. I walk by one of these almost every day, I knew you had one and I often wondered what they are like. Looks vice it looks excellent from the front, ok from the rear, but I do not really like the sides. I'm usually not into tuning but I think a tasteful bodykit and wheels really brings this cars looks forward (see attachment).

    lol @
    Quote Originally Posted by Revo
    In fact, biggest suprise of all is that my car works perfectly well in harsh winter conditions
    I know exactly what you mean. Many cars prefered in Southern Europe for instance doesn't really have the same reputation here because of the different weather.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=31695
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  7. #7
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    thanks for your review, always liked the coupé.

    it's a design by Chris Bangle, isn't it?

  8. #8
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    Cool car man............FIAT POWER
    Focus ST....... 2.5 turbo..... 280 HP

  9. #9
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    Not a bad review at all Especially in a second language!

    Your ordering of events is good, but you should try to integrate your background information into the text more. Draw on it when it becomes relevant to the part of the car you're driving.#

    Right, I'll take my Editor hat off now!

  10. #10
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    Big cheers to everyone, thanks for the feedback.

    I myself would like to read more owner reviews here. Maybe UCP should have a little "Owner Reviews" corner in the Users Ride section. Mods, what do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pando
    Looks vice it looks excellent from the front, ok from the rear, but I do not really like the sides.
    Bloody hell, are you reading my mind?
    I think a tasteful bodykit and wheels really brings this cars looks forward
    Or maybe not, because I feel exactly the opposite. We have a saying here: "Ye can't turn sh1te into bread" (a very, very rough translation ). As far as I can understand, it is getting increasingly difficult to find an unmodded Coupes, specially Turbo variants. Therefore I am doing my share for the future classic car scene keeping this little Fiat unmodded.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revo
    Or maybe not, because I feel exactly the opposite. We have a saying here: "Ye can't turn sh1te into bread" (a very, very rough translation ). As far as I can understand, it is getting increasingly difficult to find an unmodded Coupes, specially Turbo variants. Therefore I am doing my share for the future classic car scene keeping this little Fiat unmodded.
    Yeah I guess you're right. It's just that if the entire car would be as good looking as it is from the front, it would be very nice indeed... or that's at least what I've been thinking of looking at the Coupe...
    http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=31695
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pando
    It's just that if the entire car would be as good looking as it is from the front, it would be very nice indeed...
    Couldn't agree more, but that would be too good to be true - wouldn't it. Bloody Bangle, bloody Fiat .

  13. #13
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    Great car Revo , and I have been tempted to buy one on more than one occassion

    In fact, the only reason I didn't was that I insisted on having a leather interior (which was a popular option on these cars, together with airco, called the plus option) but didn't like the enormous blackness of it
    I know there were other colours available than black but these are not often seen.

    As for the styling: I like the styling of the coupe so much , especially from the side and rear, that i seriously considered to have a tan leather interiour fitted to suit my taste.
    Best future though is that cool aluminium retro styled filler cap, its gorgeous !


    I ended up buying a quite different car (italian ofcourse , but are there any others ?) nevertheless i still turn my head when I see one
    Last edited by Sei cilindri; 02-06-2006 at 03:50 PM.
    www.classicpassion.nl

  14. #14
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    Sei cilindri,

    I was lucky enough to stumble upon this rare (and very beautiful) color combo scots green + tan leather.

    Hmm....this could be perfect for you....Maybe you are interested in swap, surely I can find something likeable from your collection.

    Think about it, Cinque Silindri sounds so much better than Sei Cilindri, doesn't it?


    Just teasing, mate

  15. #15
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    That's interesting.

    Do you have pics of your interior ?
    www.classicpassion.nl

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