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A new, mightier heart

The Grande Punto gets its cousin Linea’s 90 bhp multi-jet diesel engine. Does this bode well for it?

autos Updated: Jun 23, 2010 14:27 IST

On paper, this seems like the right thing to do. Take the Linea’s 90 bhp motor and stick it in a car that’s a 100 kg lighter. The power to weight ratio goes up 12 bhp per tonne and you now have a car that moves like it looks.

Engine
The Punto and the Linea share the same basic engine, the only difference being the Linea has a variable geometry turbo while the Punto 75 hp has a fixed geometry turbo. The two cars are also based on the same platform and share the same transmission. Fiat has tweaked the Engine Control Unit and modified the Noise Vibration and Harshness package, and all of this come together to give you the Punto 90 hp.

Drive
It starts and settles into a gravelly idle. Snick the gearlever into first, feel the progressive bit of the clutch and you’ll like the way it moves off the line. It feels a teeny bit gutsier than the 75 hp on part throttle progress. The spec sheet says the 90 hp makes 20.4 kgm of torque at 1750 rpm (that’s 0.4 kgm more at 250 rpm lower than the 75 hp). However, you feel this torque kick in only when the engine is spinning closer to 2500 rpm. It is when you floor it that you’ll discover some amount of lag. Let the rpm swing to 2500, and then, as the turbo kicks in, you feel the extra punch throughout the mid-range.

Performance
The 90 hp gets to 100 kph 1.4 seconds faster, and you’ll hit 120 kph a huge 3.7 seconds earlier than the 75 hp. There’s now an improved dashboard trim, better fit and finish, and a few more features to look forward to. They are also offering the sporty looking red-stitching we had on the Punto’s seats.

The 90 hp will most likely be offered only in the top-of-the-line Emotion and Emotion pack when it is launched in the second week of July this year, and will be sold alongside the original 75 hp.

Verdict
Go for the Fiat Punto 90 hp if you do a lot of highway driving. It’s only on free, open roads that you will find the extra power complementing the phenomenal ride and handling that’s characteristic of the Punto.

Autocar India

Fiat grande punto

Price: Rs 6.80 lakh (est, ex-showroom, Delhi)
L/W/H: 3987/1687/1495 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 45 litres
Kerb weight: 1,190 kg
Engine layout: 4-cyls-inline, 1248 cc, turbo-diesel
Displacement: 1248 cc
Power: 90 bhp at 4000 rpm
Torque: 20.4 kgm at 1750 rpm
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Gearbox: 5-speed manual
Installation: Front,
transverse, front-wheel drive
Tyre size: 195/ 60 R15