Fiat Coupe: PH Buying Guide


The Brussels Motor Show doesn't usually feature highly on car enthusiasts' radars, but in 1993 it had them jangling with excitement. Why? The launch of the Fiat Coupe.

Five cylinders soon replaced four, then came LE
Five cylinders soon replaced four, then came LE
Spy shots had already stirred up interest and when the Chris Bangle-styled and Pininfarina-assembled four-seat fastback eventually broke cover, it was everything Fiat fans had been waiting and hoping for. Sensational styling showcased the American designer's love of slashed wheelarch shapes, while inside the painted metal dash gave more than a nod to Italian sports cars of the 1950s and 60s.

Underneath, the Coupe was a little more run of the mill courtesy of its Fiat Tipo platform, but that didn't stop it from being very good to drive. After all, the same chassis underpinned the Alfa Romeo 155 and Lancia Delta.

It was from these cars the Coupe took its engines, too, in the form of 2.0-litre units with and without turbochargers. The turbo'd one was the same as the Delta Integrale and immediately caught the attention of road testers and buyers across Europe.

UK customers had to wait till 1995 for this Fiat to make its way across the English Channel, though fortunately the base 1.8-litre model also stayed put on the Continent. Less than two years after it arrived in the UK, Fiat upgraded the engine range with a new line-up of five-cylinder engines, again offered in naturally aspirated and turbocharged guises. Both were popular and offered plenty of power all the way through the rev range. However, it was the 20v Turbo that really appealed to keen drivers, even if all that power through the front wheels could prove too much for the tyres.

Grab one while they're still affordable!
Grab one while they're still affordable!
Fiat didn't stop tinkering with the Coupe even as the end of production neared. A revised non-turbo engine gained a Variable Inlet System (VIS) to increase power to 154hp along with a fly-by-wire throttle. In August 1999 a six-speed manual gearbox became standard for the 20v Turbo.

Now, you can still find Fiat Coupes for less than £1,000, though they will be scruffy and tired examples. Up that budget to £3,000 and you can have a tidy non-turbo car in decent nick, while £5,000 is where you start to find smart Turbo models. With the Coupe now being bought as a modern classic, prices are on the up for clean, original cars.


Models:
1,995cc 16v 142hp; 124mph, 0-60mph in 9.5 sec
1,995cc 16v Turbo 195hp; 140mph, 0-60mph in 6.8 sec
1,747cc 130hp (not officially sold in UK)
1,998cc 20v Turbo 220hp; 155mph, 0-60mph in 6.5 sec
1,998cc 20v 147hp; 132mph, 0-62mph in 8.9 sec
1,998cc 20v VIS 154hp; 135mph, 0-60mph in 8.4 sec


PHer's view:
"Values of Coupes can be all over the place and they should really be bought on condition rather than mileage. However, a full and very documented service history is a must as far as I'm concerned."
Rob Hamilton


Introduction
Powertrain
Rolling Chassis
Body
Interior
At a glance

Inspired? Buy a Fiat Coupe here

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Comments (37) Join the discussion on the forum

  • wormus 03 Sep 2017

    I had a 20VT new back in 1998. It was the only new car I've ever owned and I loved it. Unfortunately, with the help of a tuning "expert" I tried to extract more power from it and ended up blowing it up. If only I'd left it standard!

    Now they are driven by people like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojK2KeN5504 and the nice ones are silly money for what they are. I'd also look at a GTV Cup from the same era.

  • IainF 03 Sep 2017

    My wife had one - a 20V turbo, bought new in 1998. Served us well and I always really enjoyed driving it when i got the chance. It came to a sad end. We bought an Audi TTS roadster in 2009, and didn't give ourselves enough time to find a good home for the Fiat So in the end, and to my horror, a really nice car ended up as a £2,000 scrappage part exchange. A real shame.

  • robemcdonald 03 Sep 2017

    Fiat coupe buyers guide:

    1. Build a time machine and go back ten years when there was one for sale.
    2. Buy an Alfa GTV V6 instead.

  • J4CKO 03 Sep 2017

    A mate of mine has an as new 16 valve version, his mum used it for a bit and then stuck it in the garage, where it sat for ten years, 80k, most one by the original owner in its first three years, drove it a while back, drives ok, feels old and fairly slow, bit ponderous, even the 20VT I had was a bit boaty.

  • Itsallicanafford 03 Sep 2017

    robemcdonald said:
    Fiat coupe buyers guide:

    1. Build a time machine and go back ten years when there was one for sale.
    2. Buy an Alfa GTV V6 instead.
    Looks wise the Alfa has it, but the 20VT is the quicker car

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