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.
"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.
SPECIFICATIONS - ABARTH PUNTO EVO ESSEESSE
Engine: 1,368cc, 4-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 180@5,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 199@3,000rpm
First registered: 2008
Recorded mileage: 97,000 miles
Price new: £18,395
Yours for: £4,500
See the original advert here.