Fiat recently resurrected the legendary Abarth badge when they displayed the Fiat Grande Punto Abarth at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. As you probably know, the Abarth badge has been synonymous with Fiat’s endeavors in the field of motorsport since the 1970s when it became part of the Fiat group. Previously, Abarth had been one of the most successful tuners in Italy. After its acquisition by Fiat, Abarth became the car manufacturer’s racing department and were responsible for Fiat’s rally cars, of which the Fiat 124 Abarth and the iconic Fiat 131 Abarth were most prominent. In fact the Fiat 131 Abarth won the Manufacturer’s World Rally Championship in 1977, 1978 and 1980, and won the Driver’s Championship with Markku Alén in 1978 and Walter Röhrl in 1980. In the 1980s Abarth became a performance badge for cars such as the like Fiat Ritmo Abarth 130 TC before disappearing in the 1990s.
Next week Fiat will unveil an uprated 180 bhp concept version on the Fiat Grande Punto Abarth, called the Essesse, at the Frankfurt Motor Show.The Essesse will features a lowered suspension, improved brakes, sportier styling details and special decals and logos when compared to the standard Fiat Grande Punto; but the tuned 1.4-Liter turbocharged petrol engine now pushes out 180 bhp, 30 bhp more than the Fiat Grande Punto Abarth that was unveiled at the Geneva motor show!
Rumor has it that both the 150 bhp and 180 bhp Fiat Grande Punto Abarth models will go into production, if the Essesse receives a favorable reception in Frankfurt! It would be great to have the Abarth badge back but I would have like to see a Abarth based on the Grande Punto Abarth S2000 Rally car that will also be at the show!