Fiat is launching Punto 150° to mark Italy’s 150th anniversary

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 21, 2011

Fiat is launching the 2011 Punto 150°, a new special-edition version of the Punto Evo to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification. This model, which is slated to start selling in April, boasts a bespoke honeycomb grille, the two-tone unique lightweight alloy wheels, and “Azzurro Italia” special metallic paintwork.

Commemorative badges are featured on the B-pillars, which are round and display Italy’s flat above a “150” logo. There will also be interior changes as the model will now feature standard air conditioning and radio-CD audio system with MP3 compatibility. At the front of the car, there is a set of stylish fog lamps. The commemorative model is available with three Euro 5-compliant engines.

Two are petrol burners (1.2-liter 69 hp and 1.4-liter 77 hp) while one is a diesel – the 75 hp 1.3-liter Multijet II. These engines come with a standard start/stop system. It is also offered with a 70 hp 1.4-liter engine, which uses either petrol or LPG. Like the standard Punto Evo, the car comes with seven airbags, ABS, EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and ESP (Electronic Stability Program) systems.

It has also been fitted with other useful features such as the Hill Holder system. The 1.2-liter version of the Punto 150° is offered in Italy for a base price of €9,900 ($14,000). In line with its commemoration of Italy’s anniversary, Fiat is putting the “Italia 150” logo on all the cars for the Italian market that will be produced between April and the end of June.

The new Fiat Punto could be availed either as a three- or a five-door car, with the availability of a wide range of efficient engines, more equipment and more features. This means that the new Punto would be able to cater to wider range of customers, especially those seeking smaller, affordable and greener cars that are fun to drive, comfortable and safe. This new Fiat Punto should play an important role for Fiat, especially in the supermini segment that accounts for around a quarter of all the new cars sold.

In fact, this segment has been a competitive one with about 30 models from Europe, Japan and Korea trying to grab a good portion of the market. The Fiat Punto has been considered as one of the leaders in its segment since it was launched in 1993, selling over 8.5 million units across Europe. Fiat hopes the 2012 iteration would further improve these numbers by appealing to younger customers.

This should be achievable given the Punto’s new exterior design, new exterior colors, new engine lineup, new alloy wheel designs, new interior colors and new interior materials. These new choices are simplified by offering five trim levels: Pop, Easy, Lounge and the new GBT and TwinAir.

The Pop trim level is designed to entice customers who are sensitive to price levels but still opt for a stylish car. This version of the Punto features an interior with denim inserts on the seats and Daytime Running Lights. Customers opting for this trim level may avail of the Blue&Me TomTom LIVE infotainment system. On the other hand, the Easy trim level is a package that harmoniously blends style and technology.

Aside from the body-colored door, handles and mirrors, and heated mirrors, the Easy version also comes with remote control door locking, a rear bench that splits 60/40, plus manual air-conditioning.

Fiat expects the Easy version to be the best selling model of the range. Top-of-the-range Lounge version, meanwhile, features a new interior trim and a new finish to the dash. It is specified with sculpted sports seats, a front arm rest and white ambient light on the dash, as well as front fog lights climate control and cruise control. Aside from Pop, Easy and Lounge, Fiat is also introducing two new versions: the GBT model that conveys the brand’s support for British Cycling and the TwinAir variant.

The GBT model builds on the Easy version and features sportier wheels, darkened privacy glass and lowered sports suspension as well as a body colored rear spoiler and side skirts. Just like the GBT, the TwinAir model builds on the Easy trim but with the addition of glossy black mirror covers and door pillars, distinct seats, 15-inch multi-spoke diamond finish wheels, and darkened privacy glass.

For the 2012 model, Fiat is including the award-winning TwinAir Turbo engine in Punto’s power plant lineup. This TwinAir Turbo engine combines the performance of a four-cylinder and the fuel economy of a two-cylinder.

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