The first of the new Abarths will be the Punto, as previewed at the Frankfurt motor show. It goes on sale in Italy later this month, in Switzerland before the end of 2007 and in the rest of Europe in 2008.
The souped-up supermini will come with a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-pot good for 153bhp and 152lb ft. With a standard six-speed manual gearbox, that's enough to push it to 62mph in 8.2sec, and on to 129mph.
There's also a 'power boost' mode that increases torque to 170lb ft and makes the steering quicker. The brakes are uprated, with dual-piston Brembos up front.Wider bodywork, along with new bumpers that provide enhanced cooling, house a 6mm wider track, and the slightly blistered arches house 17-inch alloys.The car has been lowered by 10mm, 20 per cent stiffer springs are fitted and the anti-roll bar is now thicker.
ESP is standard, and can't be switched off. Fiat says that the car is aimed at young drivers who may well need a safety margin.
Inside you get Abarth Scorpion badges on the dash and new sports seats, a logo that's repeated on the outside of the car.