RE: Fiat Stilo 2.4 Abarth | Shed of the Week

RE: Fiat Stilo 2.4 Abarth | Shed of the Week

Friday 15th November

Fiat Stilo 2.4 Abarth | Shed of the Week

What's in a name? If the name is Fiat Stilo, not so much. But if it has Abarth in it, that's different innit



The Stilo was released in 2001 as part of Fiat's ongoing attempts to zhuzh up its brand, but in sales terms it was a dud. There was no real cohesion in Fiat's styling at that time, and the Stilo was no real improvement on the head-scratchingly ordinary Bravo/Brava it succeeded. It was just a different kind of ordinary. In one way, specifically the suspension way, it was actually more ordinary than its predecessor, which had a fully independent rear end compared to the later Stilo's oddly Flintstonian torsion beam setup.

Still, taking up the baton of the HGT Bravo, the Stilo Abarth looked the part with its various bits of branding jewellery. Excitingly, it had an uprated version of the HGT's 20-valve five-cylinder 2.4-litre petrol engine. Less excitingly, it wasn't as pokey as you might have hoped. With 170hp pushing the 3-door Stilo's 1340kg along - the 5-door version weighed around 20kg less - its 0-60 time in the low-to-mid 8s was slightly behind that of Ford's 130kg lighter (but also more expensive) Focus ST170.

Although neither of these two really impressed in the torque department -163lb ft for the Fiat versus 145lb ft for the Ford - the Italian car did at least generate its maximum twist at 3500rpm, a full 2000rpm lower than the raucous Ford's vein-throbbing peak. It also had a more characterful rasp from its smooth straight five engine, although Shed does recall the throttle response being comically slow in standard trim.


To try and convince folk of the Stilo Abarth's credibility, Fiat set up a couple of motorsports championships in Italy and the UK in the mid-2000s, wisely avoiding potential embarrassment by refusing entry to anything that wasn't a Stilo. Still, while road testers didn't go overboard with praise for the brake feel, the seat comfort or the electric Dualdrive steering which lightened up the wheel effort at city speeds, they did quite like the Abarth's slick 5-speed gearbox - although that might have been pure relief at not having been given a Selespeed version to test. Few motoring advances have supercharged depreciation quite as efficiently as the Selespeed gearbox.

The Abarth spec level was high, too. It had everything the Dynamic range-topper had plus a sporty wheel'n'tyre package and of course those cool Abarth accoutrements including a cool scorpion badge on the back. This example even appears to have a functioning reversing camera in its Pioneer double-DIN gizmo (insert your own Italian tank commander joke here, Shed's too scared).

Today, looking around our 2005 specimen, it's a struggle to see any obvious flaws. Structurally there are no warning signs anywhere in the MOT history. The only reference to rust is to the exhaust box in 2013. In terms of advisories, deteriorated suspension dust covers and worn tyres are about as bad as it gets. All this gives the lie to the commonly held theory that Fiats are poorly made. The current MOT runs to next August.


The surprisingly clean set of alloys are shod in at least two cases with 205/55 Michelin tyres. The other two look like they may be Roadstones, which if Shed's memory serves are made by Michelin in Korea, and are not necessarily of Ditchfinder status. Any tyre will wear down rapidly on a Stilo if the suspension components aren't well set up.

Other things that might put the wrong kind of vinegar on your chips are malfunctioning electric seats, airbag sensors, instruments, ECUs, dash warnings - let's just say electrics in general. The suspension can creak more loudly than Mrs Shed's reinforced deckchair after a big meal, but the engines are strong. Driven with gusto a Stilo Abarth will return 20mpg more often than it will 30mpg. If you don't mind that, you might also be interested to hear that a quick remap will take it to nearly 200hp and that a set of shorter Eibach springs will nicely hone the drive experience.

You won't see many Stilo Abarths on UK roads these days for the simple reason that there were never more than a thousand or so registered here. In 2019 there are only a hundred or so left. If you like the idea of mooching about in something that you're unlikely to see anywhere else, Β£1150 doesn't seem all that much.


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Author
Discussion

smileymikey

Original Poster:

1,377 posts

174 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
A very left field punt this one. Quite fancy running one till it breaks.

HumanSteamroller

109 posts

25 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
Wasn't expecting this to be SOTW! Nice find, something a little curious, certainly.

Tin Hat

782 posts

157 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
I fear for this cars past.......

......and it’s future

alorotom

7,162 posts

135 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
Wow that's awful ... Surprised the garage haven't reverted it to standard. Wouldn't cost much from the scrappy!

Cambs_Stuart

681 posts

32 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
Interesting. I test drove one of these about 10 years ago. It was good fun and the engine/gearbox combination worked really well.
However the rear seats and boot were very small and i needed room for baby stuff. So i bought an ST170 instead, which had a worse gearbox, but was an all round better car. Apart from it's appetite for sensors and IMRC modules.

Ps. Just read the ad. Has it really got a refrigerated glovebox?

Edited by Cambs_Stuart on Friday 15th November 07:07

sjabrown

1,328 posts

108 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
Oooh now that’s different!

Could this be as cheap as an Abarth badged MOT’d vehicle will ever be?

It might be a Stilo but Italian things do eventually gain value. Run this for a few months then park it up in a dry shed for 30 years and you will have a very rare classic, and maybe a desirable one too (or maybe not!)

Sensibleboy

761 posts

73 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
Wind reflectors and tinted lights. A great way to ruin even the very best of cars.

moonigan

1,438 posts

189 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
Seller obviously wants to keep hold of it. Someone in the Rochdale/Haslingden area is going to be getting bombarded with PH'ers FOMOing at the mouth trying to secure this beauty.

Jamescrs

476 posts

13 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
An interesting left field choice, I remember these when they were new and I don't recall them being too bad.
Looks like it could be tidied up a bit and a decent budget run around.

richinlondon

128 posts

70 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
Don't think the silver paintwork, black bonnet and halford's rear lights do it any favours

Court_S

1,541 posts

125 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
I’ve not seen a Stilo for ages, not that they were a massively common sight.

Augustus Windsock

1,845 posts

103 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
Would a cheeky remap on an n/a engine release 30bhp? I’m not doubting, just asking the question.
A mate at work had one of these and when I realised that the P.O.S in the car park was his I was incredulous
‘Well, I don’t know much about cars, and it gets me from A to B’
A few days later it was obvious that wasn’t quite correct when he rang in to say he was going to be late to work with the comical line ‘F&@king thing, it only gets me to A’. This happened so many times in the following mo th that the Stilo Abarth was sold to a specialist for spares...
For some reason they make me think of a Latin version of a Golf V5.

Limpet

3,517 posts

109 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
For me this could have been in the “cars you never knew existed” thread. Never seen one before.

It’s a shame it appears to have been mildly barried, otherwise it would have been an interesting, if slightly left field choice.

greenarrow

1,804 posts

65 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
I actually quite like this. Shame this particular example has been butchered a bit though.

I'm pretty sure if you bought a standard one, you wouldn't lose money - rarity will ensure that. The few Tipo 16 valves that are left in the UK are fetching pretty decent money, so no reason why this curiosity wouldn't appreciate either.

After last weeks pretty awful shed, much more interesting this week IMO.

Bright Halo

849 posts

183 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
For that price it would be worth buying, stripping and thrashing to death on track days.

dunnoreally

319 posts

56 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
I had a Brava for a rental a bit back. I was actually pleasant surprised by it. Obviously it's no Lotus Elise, but it was a decent enough thing to punt through a corner. I'd expect the same chassis except with a but more urgency and a five cylinder soundtrack would be quite nice to tool about in, especially at this money.

mike74

1,469 posts

80 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
I had a lovely looking one, purple black paint, anthracite blade alloys, pan roof, sat nav, very high quality interior with full leather and soft touch plastics everywhere else.

Looked and felt like something much more expensive, in fact I believe the ones with the spec mine had were actually sold as loss leaders.

Wasn't very fast and the selespeed was very dimwitted but the 5 pot did make a very nice sound, lovely burble at low revs and a real howl when flooring it.

drgoatboy

984 posts

155 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
I'm pleased its got
"Electric windscreen wipers with anti pinch function"
I've always personally opted for manual windscreen wipers in all my cars because the electric ones always pinch. I'm sold...

On a more serious note I always thought these looked pleasantly aggressive at the time, the 5 doors were ugly things however.



Edited by drgoatboy on Friday 15th November 08:16

s m

18,226 posts

151 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
Not for me

Last weeks Corsa and Mk4 Astra Sri better dynamically plus faster and and can only think it would be a pain getting spares. Got pretty poor reviews handling wise

I’ll take an early ‘Barth and get an St 170 instead

sjabrown

1,328 posts

108 months

Friday 15th November
quotequote all
There's another for sale elsewhere also for shed money. Buy both, in the hope that will give you a spares package.