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Fiat goes greener at Paris

Uncertain: Fiat's 500 Abarth Esseesse package may not make it Down Under.

Stop-start technology emerges for Fiat at Paris but won’t be sold in Australia soon

29 Sep 2008

FIAT has already revealed the piping-hot Abarth version of its born-again 500 hatch and will now use this week’s Paris motor show to present an even wilder ‘esseesse’ version created by its performance division.

The Fiat 500 Abarth’s Esseesse package, which can be fitted by Abarth dealers during the first 12 months or 20,000km of ownership in Europe but is yet to be confirmed for sale in Australia, increases the 1.4-litre Turbo T-Jet petrol engine’s power from 99kW to 120kW at 5750rpm, while peak torque rises from 206Nm to 230Nm at 3000rpm in Sport mode.

While that is not quite in the same league as the racetrack-only version of the 5600 Abarth, which delivers a giant-killing 147kW, the result is claimed 0-100km/h acceleration in a respectable 7.4 seconds and a top speed of 211km/h.

The Esseesse kit also includes cross-drilled and ventilated front brake discs measuring 284x22mm, ventilated rear brake discs measuring 240x11mm, high-performance front brake pads, and “esseesse” 17x7.0-inch ET35 alloy wheels, finished in white or titanium, with 205/40 ZR17 Pirelli P-Zero tyres.

However, it is believed it is the Esseesse’s even lower ride height that could prevent the high-performance 500 kit from being sold in Australia. The 500 Abarth is due on sale here in mid-2009.

Finally, the 500 Abarth Esseesse adds tyre pressure sensors, “esseesse” bonnet and tailgate badging, and a unique key cover.

Also unlikely to be sold in Australia is Fiat’s new range of environmentally-friendlier PUR-O2 models, some elements of which will nevertheless be made available here next year.

36 center imageLeft: Fiat 500 PUR-02.

The most obvious of these is Fiat’s new EcoDrive function, which is a development of the brand’s Blue&Me system already available in Australia.

According to Fiat, EcoDrive “gathers information about how the car is driven and then, with this data transferred to the home computer, shows how the car may be driven more economically and how to cut emissions”.

Other features of the PUR-O2 range, which comprises Fiat’s 500 1.2 Lounge, Ritmo 1.6 MultiJet and Croma 1.9 MultiJet models, include a new ‘Stop&Start’ function developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT) that’s said to reduce urban fuel consumption by 10 per cent. It incorporates a reinforced starter motor developed by Bosch and an advanced engine and transmission control system.

Fiat’s PUR-O2 models also feature ‘green’ tyres, low-viscosity fluids, improved aerodynamics and transmissions with taller internal ratios.

For the record, PUR-O2 versions of both the 500 and Ritmo are claimed to produce emissions of just 115g/km, while the PUR-O2 Croma produces 140g/km – 17g/kmn less than the standard model – along with average fuel consumption of 5.3L/100km – down from 6.1L/100km.

Fiat claims it its 500 JTD is Australia’s most economical car and that it already boasts the “lowest range-wide average carbon dioxide figure from its total production”. According to global automotive research body JATO, of the ten top-selling brands in Europe, Fiat achieved the lowest average CO2 emissions figure for the cars it sold in 2007 – 134.6g/km.

Fiat says it intends to maintain its position as a low-emissions leader by “introducing a targeted campaign on its engines, transmissions and cars and also the structural use of the Start&Stop system”.

Read more:

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