Autocar has learned that Fiat’s reborn Abarth division has struck a secret deal with Lotus to use the next Elise to underpin its first stand-alone sports car in more than 30 years, sources have revealed.
The project has been planned to hit European streets in 2011 and will give Abarth a light-weight two-seater to give a halo model to its existing Grande Punto- and Cinquecento-based sports models.
Besides having unique styling, it will also differ from the English sports cars by using the Fiat Group’s new-generation of turbo-charged, direct-injection, air-valve four-cylinder engines, which promise high torque, high power and low emissions.
While Fiat executives have been coy on the stand-alone Abarth model, sources insist the project is already deep in development between Hethel’s engineering division and Torino.
Understood to use the highest power output version of Fiat’s revolutionary new air-head engines, the mid-engined, aluminium Abarth flyer will have more than 240 horsepower from its turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder engine. And all in a package weighing around 900kg.