Fiat Punto Rally
The second generation Punto, codenamed Project 188, was launched in September 1999 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, boasting a completely revamped style, chassis, and interior, with a new torsion beam rear suspension, as well as the original Punto's distinctive shape and design – with the bonus of the classic round Fiat badge, marking the automobile giant's centenary. Alongside the hatchback launch, Fiat showcased the Wish concept car, a hardtop convertible similar in style to the Peugeot 206 CC – a model crafted by Pininfarina to commemorate Fiat's centenary.
Unfortunately, due to emissions issues, the 1.1 and 1.4-L turbo engines were no longer available. As such, the entry-level models featured only a 1.2-L petrol unit, with either 8 or 16 valves, providing 45 kW and 60 kW respectively, or a 1.9-L diesel with common rail injection and turbocharger, or a naturally-aspirated one with mechanical injection.
Also on offer were two sportier versions – the 1.2-L 16-valve Sporting model with 6-speed manual, and the 1.8-L HGT, which was capable of reaching an impressive top speed of up to 210 km/h. The 1.2-L 16V model featured a Speedgear CVT with a sequential manual shift mode (7 gears for the Sporting model), and the 1.8-HGT had a 0-60 acceleration time of 8.0 seconds. Compared to the Punto GT, it offered an unprecedented improvement in handling. A limited-release "HGT Abarth" model was also available, which added deeper bumpers, rear spoiler, side skirts, new alloy wheels, and interior trim – though it had no technical upgrades from the regular HGT.
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