i owned a fiat coupe a couple of years ago and i must say you will not find a more sporty powerful car for your money out there on the roads. i opted for a low mileage 98 plate 20 valve turbo model which at the time had covered only 52000 miles and had two previous owners. the power delivery was very smooth in all gears with very little turbo lag if any made it an exceptional car for quick overtaking. insuring the car was very very expensive at the time as it is a group 20 category vehicle and i would recommend getting a few quotes before you even look to buy the car! i used to average around 25 mpg combined for my motorway and town driving which in todays current climate can be pretty wallet busting! also look out for worn turbos and crash damaged repaired cars out there as there are a few going around. on the whole a fairly reliable and amazingly quick car, expensive to run and maintain though.
I'm quite happy to potter around in something sensible now that I've had a couple of years with a Coupe. It is, and I'm sure always will be, the fastest thing I've driven on 4 wheels. More surprisingly, the handling, suspension and brakes are all up to the job, despite being half the price of anything else of remotely comparable performance. Yet more remarkable still I typically got thirty-something to the gallon even when driven quite hard (which was most of the time). I suppose if I had eighty grand to throw at a Porsche then it might be a bit more comfortable inside (or not) but I had no complaints. Look out for used cars with about sixty thousand miles on the clock - it's time for a new cambelt and with the 5-cylinder engine shoehorned into the engine bay it's no joke. Fiat reckon about 24 man-hours to strip the car back to the windscreen and rebuild it - I guess at least a grand to get it done, or just a little more if you wait for it to snap and then get a new clyinder head, pistons and 19 of the 20 valves.
Usually I expect you (as a driver) would follow a relatively simple procedure such as this: Unlock and open door Enter vehicle and sit comfortably Clunk-click (door closed – seat-belt on) Insert key in ignition-slot and turn When engine is running place in first gear Hand-brake off Right foot down And it moves! No, no, no, no … NO! Let us start again … Approach her cautiously; admire her; size her up: give her some respect. Is she going to be an adversary? Perhaps. Or maybe she’ll end up being your fiery bit-on-the-side! She sits there like a crouching tiger, eyeing you, challenging you! And you feel like a baby gazelle, so buck-up – get some attitude and try to behave superior. She is, after all, merely a machine … or is she? Take a stroll around her, you’ll notice she looks like a different creature from different angles, and there is no-one quite as distinctive roaming the concrete jungles of UK highways. Oh, she is unique! Her body built of sweeping curves, contrasted by sharp edges over her toned wheel arches, a long bonnet and a short, high arse! Her shoulders are broad, her centre is low, her rear-end is a wonderfully rounded “butt”!, her eyes are large and glaring, and her arches … oh those sharp-shouldered, yet beautifully curved wheel-arches! All together, the ensemble is quite breathtaking! And now, after appreciating the curves, the 15” alloys, surrounded by 205 R15 jet black latex stockings (sounds interestingly kinky!) … you’ll notice the Pinninfarina sign just in front of the rear wheel arches. The icing on the cake! Now, find the partially concealed handle and pull open the heavy door. You do not merely enter a Coupe, rather you slide in to the firm and comfortable seat. She does not hug you too tightly, but holds you firmly – almost an embrace. Appreciate your surroundings: the design is ergonomic, the four circular windows directly behind the wheel are clear and you’ll have all the real-time performance-related details you need at a glance. The central instrument panel, whilst vertical arcs out like a lover pushing her body towards you, waiting for your caress – everything is within easy reach. The dials are large and well suited to their purpose and the central consol housing the gear stick and electric-window switches is broad and gives you the sensation of a solidly built automobile. This lady is toned-up! And the Fiat logo on the steering wheel – her maker – may not be the most inspiring of marks! But then the band of body-coloured metal shooting across the top of the dashboard with the Pininfarina (the name of her dress-maker!) badge centred on it, is the Versace or Ungaro of the vehicle design world. Now you’ve appreciated her in her fully clothed (exterior) and you’ve seen her with her blouse open (in the driver’s seat), should you start her up? Or should you take a peak beneath her underwear?! Go on, you know you want to. Undo the clasp by reaching under the steering wheel and pull the lever. Then step outside and raise the bonnet – here is her heart, opening her bra has revealed more than you could imagine! Before you is a two litre (1998cc), five-cylinder unit, which can rocket you to 62mph faster than the official eight seconds the manufacturer suggests. Believe me, I’ve tried it – and it is surprising this Italian lady’s performance is understated by her maker. Her exquisite carriage is hauled by 225 horses, which can carry you to a terminal velocity of around 140mph. She is an extremely racy lady! Now be decent! You’ve ogled her long enough, re-fasten her brassiere (close her bonnet!), and step back inside. The time has come to start her up, and if the initial period
fills you with admiration and a little love, turning the key will fill you with lust! As the engine kicks in, and then turns, you’ll hear the sound of a deep and sexy purr. She does not growl or roar as so many other sporty chicks do – instead, like a pussycat, she purrrrrrrs: veiling the tiger she really is. Place her in first and put your foot down … hard! … you’ll be pasted to the seat, feeling as if your body has turned in to a gelatinous form. And as you shift to second, your body now more accustomed to the g-force, and keep accelerating, you’ll still feel as if you’ve been spot-welded to the chair! Pushing her to her limits here will get you to a hairsbreadth over 60mph, and just before you “red-line” whip it in to third, shift your body a little and feel the glue between you and the chair loosen. Third will whip by and before you know it you’re in fourth and the needle in front of you is racing on past ninety. If you’ve got the nerve, and you have no fear of detection, you’ll soon be well past 110mph in fifth. The landscape and lamp-posts rushing by in a seamless blur! She’s still hugging you comfortably and you she’s still steady as a rock on the tarmac – almost as if she’s on rails. The purr is stronger, but still not a growl, and it is like music to your ears, almost rendering the stereo pointless, after all who needs background music when she is purring to you enticingly? The steering becomes a little heavier the faster she goes, allowing more control and less margin for driver error. Any external wind-tunnel noise whilst noticeable, is barely so, and her voice will continue to purr from standstill to well over the legal speed-limit. And even at high-speeds the control is wonderful: as you guide her through sweeping curves and long straights, you may think you have her in your grasp, but no – she has you. Bec
ause whilst your brain is saying “enough, enough”, your foot is depressing the accelerator even more. There is conflict between your body and mind, you lust for more, but your logic tells you no! And it will be lust which wins in the end! And she knows, and so she purrs, and she does so with gleeful contempt! She thinks she’s got you and she believes she is perfect … but is she? Well, no! One or two points here: she’s light (although not petite), and whilst you have her glued to the road at high-speed, if you have the requirement to brake suddenly, her rear-end will loose control like a cross-bike on a sand dune. It’ll be skidding all over the place, reminiscent of a woman performing reggae-style gyratory movements whilst running frantically after a bus! She’ll look and behave like less of lady and more like a floozy – butt all over the place. And be extremely careful in the rain - she is decidedly slippery when wet. Her manners suddenly turn atrocious and she looses all sense of decorum. At this point, I recommend you handle her with a little more care. And whilst the fastest hand in the west might be able to whip her from gear to gear with amazing speed, those not blessed with lightening-like reflexes might find the movement a little more laborious and slow. The gears (at the stick end) are reasonably tight on the perpendicular/horizontal plane, but the vertical distance between 1st/3rd and 2nd/4th/5th (I believe it is called “throw” in the industry) seems a little too great. In addition, the clutch may have too high a biting-point for many. But there is no such perfect beauty which hath not some imperfection!, and you can deal with these faults and accept them knowing that very few woman are completely flawless, and if they are as pleasurable to have a relationship with as this one, a couple of minor faults are no problem at all. However, on
e major glitch is when she cries out indicating she has been violated, by an intruder – usually this happens when she is stationary and the alarm is on (no problem there). But a few people have experienced the bizarre phenomenon of her crying whilst she’s on the move. Fiat fitted her with a Scorpion alarm and immobiliser, and sometimes, whilst at either high or low speeds, it goes off for no apparent reason. Which means you’ll have to pull over to the side of the road, stop, switch-off the engine, extract the key and then switch-off the alarm to stop her from crying and only then will you be able to continue your journey. It’s annoying (to say the least), but if you can have an alarm engineer look into and solve the problem, or alternatively change the alarm system, the situation should be fine. She sounds terrible when she wails! Back to her good points … she looks good, she feels good to drive, she has an attitude and a presence. And into the bargain there are back seats too! They are relatively comfortable, but the legroom is tight. So where is the catch: well I thought it might be the price, but for a cool £22k she might be expensive, but not for what she actually is. Let’s face it, performance and style and an all-round thrill, she’s actually quite reasonably valued. And if you purchase second-hand as I did, the value for money is astounding (high depreciation!). However, check servicing (obviously!) and look for signs which may indicate she has been overly thrashed. Whilst she likes to be pushed to her limits, some drivers take this too far and enter the realm of sadism. She is robust enough to handle a lot, but if she has been handled too roughly over repeatedly long periods there will be telltale signs. And if you see them and still go ahead and buy her, you’ll notice her becoming less of a lady quite quickly. Let’s go back to the usual procedure: P
ull in and stop Right foot up Hand-brake on Ensure she is out of gear Turn key to off position Remove key from ignition-slot Open door and slide out of her embrace. No, no, no, no … NO! You know you can’t do it. She’s calling you back before you’ve even left her. She’s your fiery bit-on-the-side. Your lust grows again, and you have to put the key back in … and put your right foot down again! Drive, Baby … Drive!
The Coupe has a loyal and enthusiastic owners' web site for a good reason; you get possibly the best value 150 mph 4 seater coupe on the market at the moment. It has unique styling, which sets it apart from other Coupes and dynamics which are as impressive as its looks are striking. Used to its full the front tyres will wear out in a matter of 3-4,000 miles and you may get only 22 mpg, but I doubt you would keep your licence long on the public roads if this is how you drive all the time! Typically you can get 15,000 miles out of the front tyres and 30,000 from the rears. The petrol consumption on the turbo model should be 28 mpg or better; the best I have achieved is 35 mpg. It is a full 4 seater, provided the rear passengers are not taller than average. Insurance is expensive but owners with full non-claim bonuses are getting quotes in the region of £650 for comprehensive cover, which I have achieved with business use too. The non turbo version is quite quick and is of course much cheaper to run, while still offering many of the car's virtues. It has some common faults such as a tendency for the handbrake cable to freeze on (fixed by replacing the cable at a cost of about £17 per cable, or by getting it greased by the garage before it happens) and the rear window wipers is regarded as poor. There is also an expensive service at 72,000 miles, when it is due to have its camshaft belt replaced (vital). Some garages are now finding ways of doing this belt replacement without taking the engine out, reducing the cost from say £700 to say £240 for this (fortunately infrequent) replacement. Its usual service interval is 12,000 miles and properly maintained it should be reliable and fun. The body comes with the usual long guarantee for rust, but the paint on the bonnet, especially the leading edges, tends to chip. Dynamically its only fault is a wide turning circle and firm ride, but if you resist the temptation to put lower springs in,
it is fine to live with. Any one who can live with a little Italian "soul" and enjoys driving should try the performance bargain of the decade!
The revised Fiat Coupe is one of the easiest cars around to drive quickly. The two-litre, in-line five-cylinder engine has a full 25bhp more than the old four-cylinder turbo, yet it’s reported to guzzle less fuel. That’s a fair old hike in performance, especially with the near absence of that frustrating delay in throttle response when you bang your right foot down, known as turbo lag. The feeling of constant urgency is made all the greater by a power curve flatter than the Black Rock Desert. If you’re lazy and overtake in fourth gear – when in most cars you should be notching down to third – there’s no fuss and the car pulls hard past the slower traffic. Pretty relaxed engine speeds, matched by a comfortable, but still very taut chassis, make the car really scoot between bends. The steering is quick, allowing you to really pitch the car in, while not being corrupted at all by feeding all those 220 horses through the front wheels. This is thanks to a viscous coupling and an engine management system that craftily limits boost in first and second gears should the wheels start spinning. Inside too, little has changed over the four-cylinder model, other than the inclusion of a small analogue clock, manual air-conditioning controls and padded armrests – although the body-coloured swathe of metal sweeping across the dash adds a character to the interior that is still shockingly original next to all the current competition. And, if you like the look, but are oddly nervous about the power of the Turbo, there’s also a standard model that still boasts a chunky 132mph top speed.
This has to be the cream of Fiats cars and one of the best coupe's around. If you can get a drive in the Limited Edition you will find the extra horse power from the Turbo really gets your attention. I would sudgest some extra tuition in fast cars as this car can be quite a beast to handle. I have found that its quoted acceleration, speed etc are a little on the conservative side. It is deffinitely faster and the acceleration when the turbo kicks in puts you firmly in the back of the seat. If you have the turbo cutting in and out to much you lose a lot of mpg but you do get a very exciting drive. Fiat have come a long way, and the extra inforamtion and development from Farrari has gone a long way.
Beatiful car, beautiful engine. It's spectacularly quick and handles confidently. It's a shame that such an inspiring package is let down by poor build quality and, from my experience, diappointing customer service from local (Surrey) Fiat delears, Fiat UK and Fiat Italy. I purchased my Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo new in October last year. It was imported from Germany and is one of the last 5 speed models. The fact that it is imported has created problems with most of the dealers I have visited who have wanted to carry out 'additional checks' before doing warranty work on the vehicle. Within the first few weeks the alarm was triggering intermittently and despite numerous attempts, Fiat declined to resolve the problem and I had it fixed (at my cost) by an alarm specialist. The car has suffered from a sticky throttle since new. Fiat have been unable to trace and resolve this problem. After about three months one of the switch clusters in the central console disappeared inside the dashboard. This still remains to be fixed. The rear wiper works intermittently and there has been a rattle from the passenger door from day 1. On top of this I have been extremely disappointed with the quality of service from Fiat and it's dealer network all of whom seem to treat me as an annoyance rather than someone who paid a great deal of money for one of their products. Based on this alone I would not recommend a Fiat to anyone and I, for one, will certainly not re-purchase.