Fiat on a winning streak with the Punto Twinair
Posted on: 15th Aug 2012
Think eco cars and ‘not very exciting’ springs to mind. Good fuel economy and low emission usually means sensible, conservative design but thank God nobody told Fiat.
Instead of going the hybrid route, they produced a small, but powerful, two-cylinder engine called the Twinair.
It’s so good it’s won the prestigious ‘Engine of the Year’ 2011 award and rightly so.
It may only have 875cc, that’s less than 1.0-litre capacity, but it does have 85bhp and a surprisingly 145Nm of torque.
Fiat have now put this potent little engine into the Punto, it can also be found in the Fiat 500, and both cars are available from Donnelly Fiat.
Amazing for such a small engine but small also means tiny CO2 emissions, only 98 g/km. And because it’s so kind to the environment you don’t have to pay any road tax. Now that really is a breath of fresh air.
You would think that with only two cylinders and 85bhp it would mean a lack of fun but the Twinair engine features a turbo-charger. The combination of a turbo and such a quick revving engine all adds up to amazing performance.
But first things first, there’s the engine noise. More motorbike than car, sounding very raspy, similar to an engine that’s off a cylinder but when you get used to it, it soon becomes very enjoyable, addictive even. Especially as the power is so instant and acceleration is so brisk.
In the Punto you get a six-speed gearbox. This enables the Punto to stretch it’s legs easier on long motorway journeys and unlike the Fiat 500 rear adult passengers can stretch their legs in the back of the bigger Punto. If you opt for the five-door version it can be a great family car too.
To aid fuel economy further the engine features Start&Stop technology. As you pull up to a set of traffic lights or a junction you just apply the handbrake as normal and take the car out of gear. The engine automatically cuts out, saving you fuel,then when you depress the clutch again it starts up. After a while you’ll barely notice this happening.
You can chose from two driving styles: ‘normal’ that enhances the sporty nature of the two-cylinder engine and ‘eco’ for the most cost-effective running.
The Punto also comes with a clever driver aid system called eco:Drive. This is an eco-friendly personal driving trainer that analyses the real consumption and emissions of your car according to your driving style. It then provides useful tips for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Simply record your driving data on a flash drive that you can plug into the Blue&Me™ USB port located in front of the gearstick and then download the data to a computer or directly on the optional TomTom LIVE navigator screen.
This touch-screen interface allows safe, use of all the entertainment, information and communication systems of your Punto. Even without the TomTom screen you can control the audio via buttons on the mutli-function steering wheel as well as the Blue&Me: Bluetooth hands free voice control system.
But enough sensible talk and back to the Twinair’s fun side.
The Punto has independent front suspension and an anti-roll bar. Putting this sporty, lightweight engine in a car that handles so well, along with very responsive brakes,adds upto one amazing package.
The technology continues, as a standard feature there is an Electronic Stability Programe (ESP) with hill holder.
The front fog lamps have an adaptive cornering function and tucked away at the top of the dash is another driver aid called ‘city mode’ this button lightens the steering making parking and manouvering around town even easier.
It’s safe too being awarded 5 stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, inside you’ll find front and driver’s knee airbags.
You can’t deny the fact that the Punto Twinair is a great looking car. It comes in a raft of funky colours but looks particularly fetching in Unplugged Green. A colour that’s’ unique to the Twinair range.
The Twinair range also gets special pattern gloss black 15” diamond finish alloy wheels, pillars and gloss black door mirrors. For even more exclusivity you can opt for the gloss black roof too.
Inside you’ll find special seats with the Twinair logo on the headrest, again unique to this range.
The Twinair really is the best of both worlds. You’ve got, good fuel economy and planet saving low emission when you drive sensibly and instant, smile on your face, enjoyment when you want to have some fun. The range starts at £12,100 and don’t forget you don’t have to pay road tax. Fiat should be applauded for their approach to being eco-friendly, while not forgetting their passion for building cars that are fun to drive.
Only a test drive will do this Twin-credible little engine justice and Donnelly Fiat will be more than happy to get you behind the wheel.
Visit www.donnellygroup.co.uk or call into Donnelly Fiat, Dungannon, Eglinton or Mallusk.