Fiat Grande Punto & Punto Evo
The Grande Punto, replacing the best-selling earlier car of the same name, was launched to the public at the Frankfurt Motorshow 2005. A totally new vehicle, it is also very different offering, being much bigger, roomier and safer than its predecessor.
Developed by Italdesign-Giugiaro together with the Fiat Centro Stile, the styling of the Grande Punto is modern, elegant and distinctly ‘Italian’, whilst the interior is welcoming but functional.
Constrained by crash and pedestrian impact legislation, the front is a more rounded shape whilst the bonnet is steeply angled to blend into the windscreen, well combining sportiness and aggressiveness. Very noticeable are the small quarterlights in the front doors and the chunky mirrors mounted on the doors. At the rear the vertically aligned lights mounted high up continue the Punto tradition.
The interior shows more of the Italian design flair, with a radical coloured strip running across the dashboard matching the trim. In practical terms, the Grande Punto offers plenty of space for even the tallest of driver/passenger combinations as well as a large boot. Headroom is excellent, and the driving position is fully adjustable, both seat and steering wheel. Significant reductions in NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) give a high level of comfort, whilst systems such as the Dualdrive electric power steering make the job of driving the Grande Punto easier than ever. Dualzone climate control, an outstanding stereo system and ergonomic seats (also available with an anti-whiplash system for the head restraints) all contribute to the comfort.
Safety, as with all modern cars, plays a significant role in the Grande Punto. Up to seven airbags (front, side, window and drivers knee) can be specified whilst three point seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters, five head restraints and a fire protection system are standard. The structure, which has an all new chassis, is also designed for safety with special attention to doors, bonnet and the fascia crossbeam. In EuroNCAP tests, the Grande Punto scored the maximum 5 stars.
Active safety includes ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), ESP, Hill Holder, ASR (traction control) and MSR (prevents wheels locking when changing down).
Dynamically the Grande Punto is also a step forward. A conventional suspension layout uses MacPherson struts at the front plus an anti-roll bar and a torsion beam axle at the rear. Careful optimisation of weights, such as pressed steel (ilo cast iron) front arms and other optimisations have meant that the handling is crisp and despite the increased size of the car, agility is still excellent. The brakes are matched to the job and use discs at the front and either drums or discs at the rear, depending on the version.
The power comes from a mix of petrol and diesel engines. The two petrol engines available at launch were both developments of the well tested and used FIRE engines, the 1.2 8v unit now has 65bhp, whilst the 1.4 8v has 77bhp. The same applies to the diesels, based on the 1.3 and 1.9 MultiJet units already known. In the Grande Punto the 1.3 16v unit is available with either 75bhp or 90bhp (the latter with a variable geometry turbine) whilst the 1.9 unit has either 120bhp or 130bhp. All engines meet Euro 4 emissions levels. Shortly after the launch another petrol engine was added to the range, a 1.4 16v unit, known as StarJet. This produced 95bhp but thanks to a combination of variable valve timing, variable inlet ducts and a port deactivation system, consumes and pollutes little.
Transmissions are five-speed for all the 8v petrol engines and the 75bhp MultiJet, whilst the 1.4 16v StarJet, 90bhp MultiJet and 1.9 MultiJet units have six-speed boxes. Shifting is via cable operation, with hydraulic clutch actuation.
Various options are available, from the normal, such as cruise control and parking sensors, to the full glass roof, the front part of which opens. The list also includes 'Blue&Me' a hands free phone system and USB port for an MP3 music player, rain sensor, tyre pressure sensors, supplementary heater and so on. As befitting a volume model sold in many markets, a diverse range is available, with 2 body types (3 or 5 doors), 4 trim levels, 7 engines, 13 body colours and 12 types of interior (See the interiors). Early 2007 saw a host of changes to the interiors, with new fabrics, seats, dashboard materials and colours available.
Geneva 2007 saw the relaunch of the Abarth brand which included the announcement of the hottest Grande Punto to date, a 1.4 turbocharged version with 155bhp, or 180bhp with an optional aftermarket fit kit. See the dedicated page for more information.
2007 also saw the introduction of a new 120bhp turbocharged 1.4 16v petrol engine, still based on the FIRE. Known as T-Jet, this small capacity unit provides the power and torque of larger capacity naturally aspirated units, but with lower emissions and fuel consumption. It is also a small and light unit, benefitting both packaging and handling. Late 2007 saw the red logo introduced onto the Grande Punto. Dual fuel powered Punto powerplants were also launched, both one using petrol and methane and one using petrol and LPG. both these units were based in the 1.4 8v FIRE engine.
The 2009 Frankfurt Motorshow saw the launch of the facelifted Fiat Punto Evo. The main changes were new, Euro5 compatible, engines, a heavily revised dashboard, and a light external restyling.
Visually the front and rear were both reworked, the front to incorporate the new corporate lateral bars first seen on the 500 as well as a new bumper, whilst at the rear the taillights got LED technology and the bumper was modified in line with the front one. Inside the changes were more significant, with an all new dashboard addressing criticisms of the Grande Punto's unit. The new dashboard followed the style of that of the Bravo and used much better quality materials than the earlier model. Seats, trims, colours etc were changed as is usual during a facelift.
In terms of engines, the 1.2 8v and 1.4 8v petrol and 75bhp and 90bhp 1.3 MultiJet diesel engines all continued with Euro4 whilst still legal to produce, finishing in 2010. A new range of Euro5 engines was also introduced. The petrol units were a 1.4 8v 77bhp, a 1.4 16v 105bhp MultiAir and a 1.4 16v 135bhp MultiAir turbo, all with Start&Stop whilst in terms of diesels there were 75bhp and 95bhp versions of the 1.3 16v MultiJet II, both with Start&Stop and DPF and a 120bhp 1.6 16v MultiJet II with DPF. The two 1.4 8v dual-fuel options, with methane and LPG also continued into the revised range.
The Grande Punto continued in production in parallel to the new Evo, with a much simplified range and option structure, to be used as a more economical offer in the marketplace.
See a video of the Grande Punto here (6MB).
Driveline transverse engine at front with front wheel drive Engines 1242cc (70.8x78.9mm) 8v sohc with 65bhp @ 5,500rpm
1368cc (72x84mm) 8v sohc with 77bhp @ 6,000rpm
1368cc (72x84mm) 16v dohc with 95bhp @ 6,000rpm (StarJet)
1368cc (72x84mm) 16v dohc turbocharged with 120bhp @ 6,000rpm
1368cc (72x84mm) 16v dohc turbocharged with 150bhp @ 5,500rpm (Abarth)
1248cc (69.6x82mm) 16v MultiJet turbodiesel with 75bhp @ 4,000rpm
1248cc (69.6x82mm) 16v MultiJet turbodiesel with 90bhp @ 4,000rpm
1910cc (82x90.4mm) MultiJet turbodiesel with 120bhp @ 4,000rpm
1910cc (82x90.4mm) MultiJet turbodiesel with 130bhp @ 4,000rpm
1368cc (72x84mm) 8v sohc with Start&Stop with 77bhp
1368cc (72x84mm) 16v dohc MultiAir with Start&Stop with 105bhp
1368cc (72x84mm) 16v dohc turbo MultiAir with Start&Stop with 135bhp
1248cc (69.6x82mm) 16v MultiJetII turbodiesel with Start&Stop and DPF with 75bhp
1248cc (69.6x82mm) 16v MultiJetII turbodiesel with Start&Stop and DPF with 95bhp
1598cc (79.5x80.5mm) 16v MultiJet turbodiesel with DPF with 120bhp @ 4,000rpm
Suspension front : MacPherson strut with telescopic dampers and coil springs plus anti-roll bar
rear : Torsion beam
wheelbase : 2510mm
track (front/rear) : 1473mm/1466mm
Brakes front : discs (257mm solid, 257mm ventilated or 284mm ventilated depending on the engine)
rear : discs (264mm) or drums (203mm or 228mm)
handbrake operating on the rear via a cable
ABS with EBD
All parts (callipers, ABS and servo) by Bosch
Gearbox 5 or 6 speed manual, Dualogic robotised transmission available with some engines.
Hydraulic clutch, cable shift
Steering Rack and pinion with electric power assistance (Dualdrive)
2.8 turns lock to lock
Turning circle (kerb to kerb) 10.1m or 10.76m (depending on wheels/tyres fitted)
Dimensions length / width / height (mm) : 4030 / 1687 / 1490
The Grande Punto was also developed to compete in international rallying, under the Super-2000 regulations. Work began designing the rallycar in January 2005 and it was built to comply with the then new FIA Super 2000 international regulations that covers four wheel drive vehicles with 2000cc naturally aspirated engines. The Grande Punto S2000 has a maximum power output of 270bhp at 8250 rpm and uses a six-speed gearbox with sequential control driving through a four wheel drive system with front, central and rear mechanical differentials. According to the rules, the transmission and casing components and internal gearbox parts must be supplied by a single manufacturer. Thus the Grande Punto, like all the other S2000 cars, is equipped with parts built by the French manufacturer Sadev.
The Grande Punto proved unbeatable on both asphalt and gravel. It made its debut on the Rally del Ciocco, a round of the Italian Rally Championship, in March 2006. In that, its debut year, it won not just the Italian Rally Championship (driven by Andreucci) but also the FIA European Rally Championship (driven by Basso) and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (also Basso).
2007 saw the same car competing under the relaunched Abarth brand name in the IRC, Italian and European Championships as well as in a number of other national championships around Europe. It again won the Italian title, and took runners up spot in the IRC title.
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