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
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!
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.
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
"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."