SOTW: Fiat Coupe 20v Turbo

When you think of cars with 220hp five-cylinder turbo engines, the one that instantly springs to mind is most likely never to drop to shed-depth in the classified ads - the day we see a roadworthy 20-valve Audi Quattro as SOTW would be a dark day indeed, however.

There is, however, an alternative with the same power and mechanical layout (save for the all-wheel drive) that is most definitely available at Shed money - the Fiat Coupe 20-valve Turbo, and it's one of these that we've picked as today's SOTW.

Whatever you think of the Chris Bangle work on the exterior (yes, he of flame-surfaced BMW fame), there's no denying that it's a distinctive shape, though perhaps in a love-it-or-want-to vomit-over-it kind of a way. History also shows that it was quite a forward-thinking shape, its design influencing turn-of-the-millennium Fords and Renaults as well as early-noughties BMWs (think 'New Edge' Fords and second-gen Meganes).

Inside, the Coupe is rather more classically elegant, courtesy of a Pininfarina-designed cabin whose neat use of exterior-coloured paint on the dash lends a spot of quirky sparkle without ever seeming inelegant.

But this coupe isn't about preening - it is (and always has been) about bangs for your buck. And 220hp (and 229lb ft) was sufficient to provide bang equating to a 0-62mph sprint of 6.5secs and a top speed of 155mph. At the time that made it one of the fastest front-drive cars in production, and even today you should be able to keep up (in a straight line at least) with all but the most extreme hot hatches. When it was new, there was an advert for the car with the tag line 'in Italy nobody grows up wanting to be a train driver'. For once that doesn't sound like hyperbole.

It might even have the capability to amuse in the corners, too, with a limited-slip differential helping to keep all that torque at least vaguely in check.

This particular one looks, er, a bit challenging in its green paint/dark wheel combo, but it's done a reasonably 83k miles, has plenty of paperwork with it and has tax and ticket. Crucially, it's also had its cambelt, pulleys and tensioners (and clutch) changed relatively recently, a weakness of these cars (they need doing every 36-30K miles).

Of course, if classical good looks are more your thing, and you don't need (or want) that much power, you could always go for the Fiat's sister car, an Alfa GTV like this one. Provided you're a fan of (very) red leather...

Advert is reproduced below

Fiat coupe turbo 20v uk spec...R reg (1997)
83,500 miles £995

Fiat coupe 20v turbo,uk car. 3 former keepers,83500mls,service hisory,cambelt with all pulleys and tentioners and clutch changed 20k ago cost £1100. Met scots green,graphite alloys,full tan leather,6 stack cd,full electric pack. completely original spec,drives superb,looks great! Tax and mot,all documents in fiat wallet,red key and blue key and also code card. A pleasure to haved owned,performance and looks for little money. £995

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (343) Join the discussion on the forum

  • B'stard Child 16 Feb 2012

    Hmmm I've always quite liked the look of these even if they aren't my type

  • Baryonyx 16 Feb 2012

    I usually love these, but this colour scheme really makes it look awful!

  • 5charlie46 16 Feb 2012

    brilliant cars, loved ours! my dad bought it for my mums birthday then proceeded to drive it everywhere lol

  • Six Fiend 16 Feb 2012

    I really like these. Have been ferried about in a couple and loved the noise, feel, looks and well just about everything.

    Excellent shedding smile

  • johnpeat 17 Feb 2012

    These are seriously quick and fantastic cruisers/GT cars with a nice interior (you can get 4 semi-full-sized people in there).

    Not the worlds most fantastic handler (it eventually just noses into everything) but not bad by the standards of the era - their sale point is the straight line grunt/cruising ability which is addictive (and licence threatening!) tho.

    There's a bit of road not far from here - a quiet dual which eventually merges back into a single - it's mostly straight and there's nowhere for anyone to hide with a laser gun so let us call it 'my personal test track'. Many a car has been wound-out from the roundabout and most will get to 100 (kph of course) before I've thought better of it and backed-off.

    The Fiat 20v Turbo Coupe was showing 135 and it was my passenger (and the owner of said car) who suggested backing-off - it was still pulling like a TRAIN at the time wink It's one of those cars which just cars 'CMON CMON' (and NOT a Corsa!!), that turbo rush and the noise eggs you on all the time (that maybe a bad thing too but I'm assuming here that it's not!!)

    For comparison, a Bentley Conti GT didn't actually feel THAT much quicker on the same bit of road - it undoubtedly was (ask the Supra owner we left at the roundabout) but there's a point on public roads where you have 'enough' performance and the Coupe had that in spades.

    Also LOVE the colourscheme on this one - the exterior colour and the leather are a fantastic match. The Black Wheels are not tho - they need to go (back to Silver).

    Edited by johnpeat on Friday 17th February 01:08

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