Abarth Punto Evo SS: Spotted

Only 805 Abarth Puntos were ever sold in the UK, which perhaps contributes to their oft-overlooked status. Despite being out of sight and mind, however, the Abarth Punto Evo was a very enjoyable car in its own right. Even more so when properly appointed with the optional Esseesse and Assetto packs, providing the extra focus somewhat lacking in the standard car.

The Esseesse Pack was a £3,500 option from new, and included an ECU remap (upping power from 155hp to 180hp and torque from 170 to 200lb ft) a larger Garrett turbocharger (forcing air into the engine at 1.5bar rather than the standard 1.3) a BMC air filter, and a sports exhaust. Underneath, meanwhile, the included Assetto handling pack provided stiffer springs, for a 15mm lower ride than standard, and cross-drilled Brembo brakes to slow the 17-inch diamond cut wheels even faster than usual.

All these add-ons left the Punto Evo capable of reaching 60mph in 7.5 seconds, hardly lightning quick, but then the Abarth's true value is in the sum of its parts. When Chris Rees drove one for us a few years back he extolled its virtues thusly: "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."

This particular example is an earlier Grande Punto and has, to put it kindly, been very well run in, with over 90,000 miles showing on the odometer. Should that be a deterrent there are other, less leggy carsin the classifieds, although these come at a considerable premium and without the same equipment levels. Obviously the ideal would be a similar car with 50-60,000 miles for around £6,500, but there aren't any of those.

Despite its mileage, however, this example looks remarkably clean. Boasting a full dealer service history and described as having no rust, dents or dinks of note and a clean interior free of wear to the seats or dashboard, it seems to have been very well cared for.

An undeniably handsome and understated hatch, the Punto may not be able to challenge the likes of the Mini Cooper S and Renault Clio RS for segment supremacy but, certainly at this price point, it'll provide a refreshing and well-sorted alternative to the usual suspects.


Engine: 1,368cc, 4-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 180@5,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 199@3,000rpm
CO2: 169g/km
First registered: 2008
Recorded mileage: 97,000 miles
Price new: £18,395
Yours for: £4,500

See the original advert here.



P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (38) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Tayto.king 08 Mar 2018

    The car in the picture is an abarth grande punto with the earlier more reliable/ less complicated t_jet engine, same as Abarth 500. I think there were only 360 of these brought in to the UK and only about 100 of these converted to esse esse spec.
    Later spec abarth punto evo had the multi air engine, which although is impressive always felt very controlled compared to the 80's boost surge you get from the t_jet engines in the earlier spec Grade Pinto pictured.
    I've owned both and prefer the Grande pinto.

  • Jimmy Recard 08 Mar 2018

    I didn’t know there was an Abarth Punto. I really like that.

  • Mike335i 08 Mar 2018

    We have this engine in 155hp spec in the wife's alfa, it is quite a good little engine, can do high 40s mpg and feels quite pokey in a small package.

  • culpz 08 Mar 2018

    These are great value for money, along with the Abarth Grande Punto too. I was looking at them on the last PH article on these and never realised just how cheap they can be had and for good ones aswell. They seem pretty bulletproof too, on the whole, especially the engines.

    However, I just can't help but feel that the quick little 500 is just more cool and desirable, for me, anyway. That may even be exactly what i wrote last time but i do feel that the 500 Abarth's have just got something more special about them and a more feisty little character.

  • 99dndd 08 Mar 2018

    I saw one of these yesterday when driving home from work.

    Looked good.

View all comments in the forums Make a comment