Small fast hatchbacks have always been the ideal recipe for providing thrilling entertaining drives. In the late 80’s Peugeot’s 205 GTI and Volkswagen’s MK1 Golf GTI where the hot hatch kings. Over the years, almost all the fast hot-hatches have gained weight along with increases in power, but in doing so, some have lost that special ingredient that instils a smile on your face every time you drive. I’m delighted to see that these days Abarth have created a car that’s capable of providing the same ‘seat of the pants’ exhilarating drive that the hot-hatches of old were renowned for, welcome Abarth’s Punto Evo.
From the outset the Abarth Punto Evo makes its sporting intentions clear, it has an aggressive look. The striking red and white colour scheme is complemented with 17” ‘Scorpion-Pincer’ alloys finished in a mean anthracite colour, behind which sit large Brembo monobloc twin-piston callipers on ventilated discs. The Abarth’s sporty exterior looks are carried over to the interior, where two optional Sabelt race-style seats with painted backs are the main focal point in my test car. Whilst they may look the part, I found the seating position too high and unfortunately there’s no height adjustment.
The Abarth Punto Evo’s 1.4l turbo-charged engine is eager to rev and encourages you to drive it enthusiastically. Its 165hp is delivered through a six-speed manual gearbox, which would benefit from a shorter throw, nonetheless the gear-change itself is silky-smooth. There’s an electronic differential fitted known as TTC (Torque Transfer Control) which aids the power delivery to the frontwheels and is activated automatically when the ‘Sport’ mode is engaged.
An Abarth Punto Evo will cost you an estimated €25,000*, estimated because at present there isn’t an official Abarth dealer in Ireland, hopefully this will change soon, so more drivers can experience the sheer fun factor that this car provides.[table “4” not found /]