Abarth Punto: Unsung Hero

Here's an 'Evo' that most us have probably forgotten about: the Abarth Punto Evo. I'd almost forgotten about it too, until I saw a 14-registered one the other day. Are they still selling those?, I pondered, before enquiring with Abarth HQ to find that officially, it shuffled off its mortal coil in 2014. What I saw must have been one of the very last Abarth Puntos ever registered.
Yes, an Abarth hot hatch that isn't a 500
Yes, an Abarth hot hatch that isn't a 500

And speaking of registrations, no more than 805 Abarth Puntos ever made it on the road in the UK, according to Howmanyleft. That makes it a rare beast in anyone's book. Fiat kept changing its mind about exactly what to call the Punto, so Abarth registration figures are split into 351 Grande Puntos (2008 to 2010), 316 Punto Evos (2010 to 2012) and 138 Punto Supersports (2012 to 2014).

As hot hatches go, the Punto is more warm than truly hot. The 155bhp Grande Punto did 0-62 in 8.2sec, the 165bhp Punto Evo in 7.9sec and the 180bhp Supersport in 7.5sec. The 1.4 MultiAir engine is an undoubted cracker, though: torquey, free-revving and charismatic (as long as you keep it in Sport mode).

The Punto Abarth drives like a modern version of a Fiat Uno Turbo, or Strada Abarth - a fair slug of torque-steer, giving you a twitchy bucking bronco of a ride. Say what you will, but that's something I miss in modern cars - so much more entertaining than most of today's clever-diff hot hatches.

Certainly exciting round corners...
Certainly exciting round corners...

And it's such an understated and stylish machine - so much cooler than the cartoonish Abarth 500 (a car with which I have a number of issues). The Punto was widely praised for its styling when it came out (with most hacks homing in on the 'Maserati-style' front end), but it now looks very understated. That does make it fly under the radar, with all the benefits that brings.

But the buying public has always favoured the cutesy-retro Abarth 500 over the Abarth Punto, a trend which continues today in the second-hand market. While the cheapest Abarth 500s still command £7,500, you can get a (far superior) Scorpion-badged Punto for under £6k. Bargain, I say.

Actually finding an Abarth Punto is a hard task, it seems: there are only four in the PH classifieds at the moment. The earliest ones date from 2008, and an early Grande Punto up for £6,544 has a dealer-stamped history and 57K miles on the clock.

But it's not the cheapest Abarth in the classifieds - that honour goes to a 2009 examplewith 51K miles on the clock, up for £6,000.

Late Supersport Punto up at £14,995
Late Supersport Punto up at £14,995

Going up to the post-2010 Punto Evo, there is a low-mileage (31K) 2011 example for £8,983. Right at the top end is a 2013 Supersport at £14,995.

One final observation is that Esseesse versions (extra power, funky wheels and other upgrades) seem to be extremely rare. Despite Abarth telling me that one in three buyers specified the £3,000 Esseesse pack (in the early years, at least), very few seem to crop up in the classifieds. Maybe people are hanging on to them...


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Comments (40) Join the discussion on the forum

  • MikeGoodwin 23 Apr 2015

    If I were 19 years old I would most certainly look into one of these.

  • caelite 23 Apr 2015

    MikeGoodwin said:
    If I were 19 years old I would most certainly look into one of these.
    Indeed. 6k for the car. ONLY 5.5k on insurance!

  • hondafreek 23 Apr 2015

    Seen one round our way, nice looking thing. I've never bothered looking into them though. Just missing something that makes me want one though.

  • trashbat 23 Apr 2015

    It's not a terrible looking thing, but I wonder what it'd look like if you resprayed that black bumper insert to match the paint of the car?

  • wildcat45 23 Apr 2015

    A while back we flirted with the dea of a 500 With a Scorpion badge on it. The garage also had a Punto to test. I loved it!

    They just look so understated and I never realised they were so rare. There is one near me which I see regularly. I had a builder working for JE Ince who ran one.. Just lovely cars.

    There's a kind of old fashioned feel to them. That's something I like but I can appreciate why it may have resulted in so few sales.

    An interesting alternative to a MiTo - or however it's spelt?

    Like a lot of affordable and rare cars I read about here, I wish I had the space and an excuse to own one.

    I'm not up in the current FIAT range. Is there a new generation Punto out?

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