Fiat is considering a performance version of its new Fiat Panda city car. A Fiat spokesman confirmed a 105bhp version of the company's 875cc, two-cylinder TwinAir engine was in development, and described its installation into the Panda as “the next logical step”.
The TwinAir engine is already offered as an 85bhp turbocharged unit, and a 65bhp naturally-aspirated version will be introduced later in 2012. The engine is flexible enough to have a broad range of power outputs, but 105bhp is the limit without significant re-engineering of the unit. “It is possible to go beyond this, but we're not prepared to do this at the expense of the drivability”, said the spokesman.
The previous performance variant of the model, the Panda 100HP was well regarded, and there is pressure from Fiat insiders for a replacement to be introduced. However, Fiat has ruled out an Abarth Panda, scotching rumours that its 1.4TB unit may be destined for the model.
Fiat says the next key launch for the Panda range will be a pair of 4x4 models, which are scheduled for a September launch. The Panda 4x4 will be a four-wheel drive variant offered with a choice of petrol and diesel powertrains. The 1.2-litre FIRE and 1.3 MultiJet engines are the preferred options.
The Panda Trekking will share the same rugged look and raised ride height, but will have a front-wheel drive configuration. Grip will be aided by the Fiat Group's Traction Plus electronic differential system. The system is already fitted to Qubo and Doblo passenger cars and Fiorino and Ducato light commercial vehicles.
Both models will share the same styling pack, but a 'Cross' variant with additional bodywork addenda will not be offered. Last month, Autocar revealed photographs of the Panda 4x4 cold weather testing. The photographs showed additional protective plastic cladding, although it is more discreet than the model it replaces.