Schumi stops rolling and gets a grip
31 May 2005

There’s a lot to like about Fiat’s Stilo Abarth – not least its gargling 2.4-litre, 170bhp five-pot powerplant, tasteful styling and lavish interior – but limp suspension settings and an anodyne steering system always ruled out realistic comparisons with its rivals.In an attempt to polish up the hot Stilo’s act, Fiat UK has let loose the Stilo Schumacher. Only 200 of these special edition three-doors will be sold here, in commemoration of the F1 weltmeister’s five consecutive drivers’ world championships for Ferrari. Each gets Ferrari-red paintwork, a reshaped body kit, monographed badging on the flanks and bootlid, and its own numbered plate on the dashboard.If that sounds sufficiently special, you can have it for £15,995; this is the £16,995 GP edition though, which also features specially valved, lowered Bilstein struts and dampers underneath Eibach springs, plus lightweight 18in OZ alloy wheels, specially tuned by development dons Prodrive for optimal results.The net outcome, although still no threat to the Golf GTI, is a more credible driver’s car. Where the Abarth would roll and pitch, this version keeps its dynamic composure much longer, allowing you to exercise its five-cylinder motor more often. The increase in grip also provides a more aggressive turn-in and, although there’s still only minimal feedback through the steering wheel, you can position the Stilo Schumacher accurately in corners, and with increased confidence. 

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